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Warren Wants Big Oil Executive Pay Investigated

Senator Elizabeth Warren has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch an investigation into the remuneration of executives at several oil companies, including Marathon Petroleum, Chevron, and Occidental Petroleum.

According to Warren, these companies "may be misleading investors and the public about their executive compensation by using loophole-ridden climate metrics tied to CEO pay," she said in a letter to SEC chairman Gary Gensler.

Citing a Washington Post report that made allegations oil companies were setting climate change goals but then using easily manipulated metrics to gauge success, Senator Warren said that "These potentially deceptive environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics pose a serious problem: they have the potential to mislead investors and the public on the terms and conditions under which executive bonuses are paid to top company officials. I am requesting that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigate this matter." 

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Marathon Petroleum, one of the "world's most egregious fossil fuel lobbying companies preventing policy-based climate action," paid its then-CEO $1.9 million between 2011 and 2020 for meeting environmental goals, awarding bonuses in nearly every year, even though a Marathon Petroleum pipeline released 1,400 barrels of diesel fuel into an Indiana creek in 2018," Senator Warren said in her letter.

Last month, Warren targeted natural gas exporters in a similar vein, accusing them of causing massive price increases for American consumers to enrich themselves.

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"I am writing regarding my concern about rising natural gas prices for American consumers, the impact this will have for families struggling to pay their bills and keep their homes warm this winter, and the extent to which these price increases are being driven by energy companies' corporate greed and profiteering as they 'moved record amounts of U.S. gas out of the country,'" she said.

In response, the chief executive of EQT noted the reduction in emissions since the start of the shale gas boom, calling the U.S. LNG export industry the potentially largest green initiative in the world.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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