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Greenpeace Freaks Out After Rex Tillerson Accepts Award From Oil Industry

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Environmentalist group Greenpeace criticized Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for accepting an award Sunday from the oil industry that was granted before he joined the Trump administration.

Tillerson accepted the World Petroleum Council’s Dewhurst Award in Turkey for what the group called his “outstanding contribution to the oil and gas industry.” He worked for Exxon Mobil for more than four decades.

“I have to share [the award] with the men and women of ExxonMobil, because I’m here because of what they did, not because of what I did,” Tillerson said after accepting the award. The former oil man is only the 10th person to receive the honor, according to the World Petroleum Council.

He got a bit emotion during his acceptance speech, telling those in attendance that he will miss his colleagues. “I miss you as partners, I miss you as competitors,” he said. “I miss the healthy debates, the collaboration,” and the “breakthroughs.”

Greenpeace’s Naomi Ages was having none of Tillerson’s flowery language, telling reporters Sunday that the former Exxon CEO’s willingness to accept the award is another example of his poor judgement as a government official.

“Secretary Tillerson’s warped notion that it’s appropriate to attend and accept an award at an oil industry conference proves yet again that he has no idea how to be the United States’ chief diplomat,” she said in a statement.

Ages opposed Tillerson before and after his nomination, citing his career in oil and natural gas and Russian business ties. Various environmental activists criticized Congress when it confirmed Tillerson in February.

Activists have continually tried to tie probes against Exxon with Tillerson and President Donald Trump. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, for instance, issued new subpoenas and questioned witnesses about the disappearance of lost memos from Tillerson’s email alias when he led Exxon. He wrote the lost emails under the pseudonym of “Wayne Tracker.”

Schneiderman and other environmentalists are concerned Tillerson was using the alias to discuss climate change risks and other sensitive issues. Exxon admitted earlier this year that nearly a year’s worth of emails may have been lost because of a technical glitch. It is common for executives to use aliases for internal communications, the company noted at the time of the revelation.

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