Ex-environmental council chief nets Exxon PA unit post

WASHINGTON: ExxonMobil has hired Philip Cooney, former chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, to work in the company's public affairs group.

WASHINGTON: ExxonMobil has hired Philip Cooney, former chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, to work in the company's public affairs group.

Cooney recently came under fire for editing government scientific reports to cast doubt on the link between the emission of greenhouse gases and climate change.

Before joining the Bush administration, Cooney worked as a lawyer for the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry's primary lobbying voice in Washington, DC.

ExxonMobil said it hired Cooney, who is expected to join the company this fall, about the same time it recruited Matt Gobush, the former communications director for Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, to serve as the company's manager of executive communications.

"We have always hired highly qualified people for their talent, not their politics," ExxonMobil spokesman Russ Roberts said. In his new job, Cooney is expected to do government relations work and serve as an "analyst of sorts," he added.

Roberts said Cooney had put the word out earlier this year about his intention to leave the administration and was offered the ExxonMobil job long before his role in editing the scientific documents was made public.

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