White House Environment Adviser's Move To ExxonMobil Criticized
Opposition Democrats criticized the administration of US President George W. Bush on Wednesday after it emerged a former top White House advisor on environmental issues, Philip Cooney, has taken a job with oil giant ExxonMobil.
The news that Cooney had secured a job with the oil giant came days after he resigned as the chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality on Friday.
Prior to resigning his White House post, Cooney was involved in a controversy over the deletion of dire climate change warnings in US government reports.
"This is just one more example of how the Bush White House is bought and sold by the very industries it is supposed to regulate," Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said in a statement.
The leading Democrat in the US Senate also criticized Cooney's move to ExxonMobil.
"The revolving door between the White House and big oil swung open again yesterday, just as the White House expressed opposition to key initiatives in the energy bill that will move America toward energy independence," Senator Harry Reid said.
Cooney has no scientific background and prior to taking up the environmental post at the White House he served as a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, an association of oil and energy firms.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the administration's environmental record was "strong."
Asked about Cooney's case, McClellan told reporters: "That's a pretty absurd question that you just raised."
"And the president is the one who drives policy and makes the decisions. And look at our record and look at the facts, because it's a strong record when it comes to addressing climate change," McClellan said.
The White House has said Cooney's resignation was "completely unrelated" to the release of documents last week that showed Cooney had edited US government documents on global warming in what appeared to be an effort to water down climate change warnings.
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