Covering up harmful actions by organizations can cause material harm to the earth and the earth's inhabitants and can reinforce the notion that powerful companies are untouchable. Oil companies are notorious for creating massive amounts of harm to the environment, people, and non-human animals while exerting power and resources in order to cover up their harmful actions.
Oil companies are also notorious for having decades worth of knowledge about the link between burning fossil fuels and causing environmental harm. For example, ExxonMobil is reported to have knowledge about the relation between burning fossil fuels and negative environmental impacts since 1980. However, rather than publishing their findings, the company took steps to conceal the reports and encourage and fund climate change denial.
For almost 30 years, Exxon has funded climate change denial while the earth was experiencing (and currently undergoes) the 6th mass extinction event, with 150-200 plant, insect, bird, and mammal species going extinct every 24 hours. This rate of extinction is 1,000 times the natural rate and hasn't been experienced in over 65 million years. There is a direct relation between powerful fossil fuel companies funding climate change denial and the environmental devastation occurring on this earth.
Additionally, oil companies like W&T Offshore have been known to not report or underreport oil spills and even have their workers send in altered water samples to federal environmental agencies. These are not isolated incidents but a pattern of actions from fossil fuel companies that will absolutely affect generations to come due to the reality of climate change and environmental devastation.