WASHINGTON – Environmental activists interrupted the Senate confirmation hearing for former ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson as secretary of state three times on Wednesday, believing that he would harm the fight against climate change.
“Please don’t put Exxon in charge of the State Department. Protect our children and grandchildren,” shouted one white-haired woman before being expelled from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
The woman was holding a Greenpeace sign with the message “Reject Rexx” on it, the double-x imitating the logo of the oil giant, and showing drops of black crude.
A few minutes earlier, another protester had been expelled from the hearing after shouting that her home had been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 along with her opposition to Tillerson’s confirmation.
President-elect Donald Trump tapped Tillerson to be the chief US diplomat under the incoming administration.
The ExxonMobil executive in the past has acknowledged that climate change is being caused by human activity, although he has not stopped defending the use of fossil fuels.
Tillerson’s nomination has raised doubts about the possibility that he might have conflicts of interest or in some way try to benefit the interests of the petroleum behemoth via his activities as secretary of state.
If he is confirmed by the Senate, Tillerson has promised to sell the approximately $55 million of Exxon stock that he owns and to recuse himself from any decision linked to the company for at least a year.