Oil Change International

Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels

Latest pro-Keystone XL letter from Congress once again awash with oil money

Last week, we put out analysis of the massive amounts of fossil fuel money lining the campaign coffers of those Senators who recently signed a letter to the President clamoring for approval of the troublesome Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. That analysis showed that Senators who signed that letter received some 340% more in campaign contributions from fossil fuel interests than those that did not.

Well, it seems some members in the other chamber of Congress have decided they don’t want to be left out. Led by Rep. Lee Terry (who has received nearly half a million dollars in dirty energy money in his career), a group of members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to the White House today, in support of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Just like the Senate letter, this shouldn’t actually be news, given so many of these members have expressed their support from the beginning. But these members of Congress have decided to attempt to raise some noise today, perhaps sensing, like their Senate colleagues, that the project’s chances may be dwindling, as the movement against this climate-imperiling, aquifer-threatening tar sands pipeline continues to grow.

The results of our analysis won’t surprise anyone who has been paying attention to the dirty influence of Big Oil, Gas and Coal in Washington. Once again, the facts speak for themselves:

  • Total lifetime contributions from oil and gas interests to Representatives signing the letter: At least $23.8 million
  • Average lifetime contributions from oil and gas interests to Representatives signing the letter: roughly $168,000

Those Representatives that signed the letter received roughly 250% more money from oil and gas interests compared to those Representatives who did not sign the letter.

While people all over the country deal with extreme weather brought on by climate change and dirty pipelines spilling in their backyards, so many of their Representatives in Washington, DC seem determined to ignore their pleas for action in order to appease their dirty energy donors.

President Obama and his State Department would do well to look carefully at the motivations behind the latest round of pro-Keystone XL letters, and then look to the massive opposition to this pipeline from actual constituents rather than oil companies to see what the right decision is. It’s time for our politicians to listen to the many, not the money. It’s time for a separation of oil and state.

 

Note: This analysis combines campaign contribution data in Oil Change International’s Dirty Energy Money for existing members of Congress with data from the Center for Responsive Politics for members of the 113th Congress that are new to the Congress. Additionally, the list of Representatives provided by Rep. Terry’s office appears to be missing roughly 6 names, so the above figures may adjust slightly (although the total will only increase).

Comments (1)

  1. Members of Congress have to start separating themselves from the Fossil Fuel industry, if they mean to pass the necessary tax on carbon pollution, that is so crucial to remedying our Climate Threat. Does the Congress care about representing the American people, or keeping their job? This is the ultimate question.

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