In response to high gas prices and newly reported record profits by ExxonMobil, Nationals fans today called on team owners to declare by August 15th that Exxon will never gain naming rights to Nationals Park.
PRESS RELEASE July 31, 2008
Contact: Mike Tidwell, CCAN: 240-460-5838
Kert Davies, Greenpeace: 202-413-8515
As Gas Prices Skyrocket Exxon Releases Quarterly Profits, On Track to Shatter All Time Records
WASHINGTON, July31—In response to high gas prices and newly reported record profits by ExxonMobil, Nationals fans today called on team owners to declare by August 15th that Exxon will never gain naming rights to Nationals Park.
Nationals Park is the only stadium in the country to be certified as a green building and yet ExxonMobil, one of the biggest contributors to global warming in the world, is also one of the biggest advertisers at the new ballpark.
“As the world wakes up to the reality of global warming, ExxonMobil remains a major roadblock to any meaningful solutions to the climate crisis,” said Kert Davies of Greenpeace USA, a member of the
“Strike Out Exxon” campaign. “Yet the Nationals’ owners still won’t promise not to sell the name of America’s first green stadium to Exxon, the least green company on the planet. With all that profit, they would certainly be the highest bidder.”
At a 2008 hearing before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, Exxon’s senior vice president said the company spends less than one-half of one percent of its income on renewable energy. Exxon has also spent more than $22 million in the past decade to finance front groups that spread misinformation on global warming science, question links between human activity and climate change, and attack regulations to solve global warming.
Since the campaign launch on June 20th, fans have asked Nationals officials to publicly declare that Exxon will never gain naming rights to the park. Team owners have refused to rule out the possibility.
“Naming the nation’s first green ballpark ‘ExxonMobil Park’ is almost unthinkable, redefining the word oxymoron” said Mike Tidwell, a leader of “Strike Out Exxon” and director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “Yet team owners still refuse to rule it out. Fans are fed up and want an answer by August 15th.”
Fans are worried that Exxon is trying to paint itself as environmentally friendly by piggybacking on the good image of the team and its new green park.
“We congratulate the Nationals for being the only stadium in the country to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council,” continued Tidwell. “Yet the Nationals are doing more harm than good by linking Exxon to our nation’s favorite pastime.
ExxonMobil earned $40.6 billion in 2007, or $4.6 million an hour. The company today reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation. The record quarterly profits put Exxon on track to easily top last year’s earnings.
“In 2007, Exxon made in eight days what the federal government spent on renewable energy the entire year,” said Davies. “The quarterly profits announced today, which were bolstered by skyrocketing gas prices, set Exxon up to earn more this year than any corporation in history.”
The “Strike Out Exxon” campaign scored an initial success when, only days after the launch, announcers stopped declaring over loudspeakers that Exxon was the official sponsor of the 7th inning stretch. The company’s logo is still displayed prominently on the left field wall and, intermittently, behind home plate and along screens that line the mezzanine.
Amanda Duzak, a student at Towson University in Maryland, said: “As a young person, I recognize that global warming is the single greatest threat to my generation. I came out today to make sure Nationals officials do not sell our green park to one of the world’s biggest polluters.”
Duzak has joined scores of other activists protesting the oil giant’s presence at the ballpark. Activists have been at every home game since June 20th and the campaign pledged today to continue the protest for the rest of the 2008 season or until the Nationals drop Exxon as a client.
Hundreds of fans have signed postcards to Nationals officials asking them to deny stadium naming rights to the oil giant. Representatives presented the postcards to Nationals officials today.
Nydria Humphries, a resident of Ward 8 in the District, said she was pleased with the stadium’s promise to revitalize the neighborhood. But, she said, “It is despicable that ExxonMobil is raking in record-breaking profits while my Ward 8 neighbors have to choose between putting dinner on the table and filling up their gas tanks. ExxonMobil has no place in a “green” ballpark that promised to be a good neighbor.”
The Coalition to Strike Out Exxon is made up of environmental, social, faith, and student leaders who have come together to demand that the Nationals stop taking ExxonMobil ad dollars, including a pledge not to award stadium naming rights to the company. The coalition represents thousands of DC-area residents who are deeply concerned about global warming, fed up with high gas prices, and outraged by ExxonMobil’s consistent efforts to take America backwards and keep us addicted to oil. Members include: The Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Hip Hop Caucus, Oil Change International.
Learn more at www.StrikeOutExxon.org.