"BHP Billiton and two other leading US energy companies operating in Australia have been caught up in a lobbying scandal that was aimed at defeating the landmark US climate change bill", the Sydney Morning Herald said on August 13.
The companies are now being investigated by a congressional committee.
The SMH said the scandal involved a dozen forged letters to Congresspeople that claimed to be from grassroots groups in coalmining districts opposed to the climate bill being considered by Congress. However, the lobby group Americans for Clean Coal Electricity admitted an employee had faked the letters.
BHP is a member of the group, as is US multinational Chevron Mining and Peabody Energy, which is the US's largest coalmining company.
The climate bill, a carbon trading scheme, has been criticised by environmentalists for not introducing measures anywhere near serious enough to tackle the threat of climate change. But like a similar scheme in Australia, despite not implementing the measures needed and having many pro-business elements, it still faces pressure from corporate interests that want no action at all — no matter how small.