Exxon Mobile Corp. CEO Rex Tillerson told a House subcommittee that hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible.

No word on whether he also told them Santa Claus and the tooth fairy are real.

The subcommittee called the hearing after Exxon spent $41 million to buy XTO last month. XTO is one of the most active players in the Barnett Shale, and gas producers such as Tillerson are worried that new environmental regulations could slow down development.

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Tillerson trotted out the same old industry mantra that gas is cleaner than coal.

What wasn’t described was the toxic cocktail used in the fracking process. The rich and powerful energy industry has resisted sharing that information, and no law requires them to do so. Weird stuff like that happens when lobbyists shower money and influence on lawmakers.

And what of fracking’s affect on water sources? Who knows? Fracking is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Attempts made by Tarrant County folks to hold gas companies accountable for water problems near drilling sites have gone nowhere. The gas industry denies, denies, denies, and employs teams of lawyers to scare potential litigants.

This month, Rolling Stone put Tillerson on its list of 17 top “climate killers” – people most responsible for trying to curb global warming efforts.

“Exxon is responsible for 397 million tons of CO2 emissions annually — more than twice those of the nation’s dirtiest electric utility — accounting for 6.5 percent of America’s climate-warming pollution,” the article says. “As part of its campaign to defeat climate legislation, which Tillerson claims will ‘cap economic growth,’ Exxon spent $29 million on lobbying in 2008 — second only to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And despite vowing to stop its funding of climate denial, it continues to foot the bill for bogus research by right-wing outfits like the Heritage Foundation, which asserts that ‘growing scientific evidence casts doubt on whether global warming constitutes such a threat.’ ”

Here he is lamely attempting to explain and defend his predecessor’s $400 million retirement package.

And here is is being “honored” in January 2009 for being the worst person in the world:

Here are some people in Dallas protesting at Exxon’s annual meeting in 2008, a time when gas prices at the pump were soaring and the ginormous oil and gas company was reporting $45 billion in profits and giving its CEO $400 million.