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DECEMBER 1, 1998   4:59 PM
CONTACT: Rainforest Action Network
Mark Westlund, Shannon Wright - 415/398-4404
Exxon-Mobil Merger Spells Potential Disaster For The Planet's Climate; Enviros Ask: Will Big Oil's Seven Sisters Become The Three Fates?
SAN FRANCISCO - December 1 - "Now that Exxon and Mobil have merged to form the world's largest fossil fuel company, it has the responsibility as the industry leader to do all it can to stem the tide of climate change. This requires a rapid move out of fossil fuel and into renewable energies, and ending new fossil fuel exploration, beginning with projects slated for fragile ecosystems. Our climate and our rainforests depend on it."

- Shannon Wright, Clean Energy Campaign Director

Environmental and human rights activists expressed concern today as Exxon Corporation announced it agreed to acquire Mobil Corporation in a transaction that will create the world's largest oil company. Unless the company, to be called Exxon Mobil Corp, makes an immediate shift into renewable energy sources, greens fear, the world's climate, endangered natural areas, and last remaining traditional indigenous communities could face catastrophe.

"When energy companies put brute profitability ahead of environmental and human rights concerns, we can expect the worst," said Shannon Wright, RAN's Clean Energy Campaign Director. "I am deeply concerned that at no point in this transaction, either company has addressed plans to phase out new petroleum exploration in rainforests and other delicate ecosystems, or a plan to transition into renewables."

The companies said in a joint press release: "This merger will enhance our ability to be an effective global competitor in a volatile world economy and in an industry that is more and more competitive. It allows us to manage our expanded, combined asset base to deliver increasing returns and growth to our shareholders while reducing our operating costs."

Rainforest Action Network and campaign partner Project Underground released a report assessing the threat of new petroleum exploration to the climate, the environment and indigenous people. Key findings include that the oil and gas industry spends over $150 billion annually on new exploration, and that the area covered by new exploration activities in the last decade roughly equals the land area of the U.S. and Europe combined. The ongoing exploration threatens old growth frontier forests in 22 countries, coral reefs in 38 countries, and mangroves in 46 countries. In addition, indigenous peoples on every inhabitable continent and at least eight isolated groups face an immediate or near-term threat from exploration.




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