Oil Change International

Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels

Dirty Energy Money

We expose the influence of fossil fuel industry money on decision makers.

All too often, our decision makers are bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry. In this 112th Congress alone, oil, gas and coal interests have given over $20 million of this “dirty energy money” to our Senators and Representatives, to influence their votes around industry-friendly measures from dismantling the power of regulatory bodies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to approving the Keystone pipeline, to opening up the outer-continental shelf to drilling.

The harsh reality is that until we limit our consumption of all fossil fuels, let alone stop the drunken pursuit of every last drop of them, we’re headed towards a point of no return with respect to climate change. The fossil fuel industry has limitless resources to invest in protecting and expanding their access and influence. Until we cleanse our democracy of the influence of dirty energy money, we’re facilitating this dangerous gold rush mentality. Our decision makers at every level must be accountable to the interests of their constituents, not those lining their campaign coffers.

Challenges

The fossil fuel industry is deeply entrenched in our government – and this needs to change in order to hasten the transition to clean energy. The money going into politics from the oil, gas and coal industries gets huge returns in the form of subsidies back to fossil fuels. This cycle must be stopped.

The mentality of needing more and more fossil fuel resources is also a big obstacle to change. The reality is that there are plenty of clean, viable alternatives – and much more can be done with less energy.

Solutions
Tell the story of fossil fuel money in Congress. Oil Change International’s Dirty Energy Money campaign tracks individual and company PAC contributions to Senators and Representatives at the federal level – and in turn how these actors vote – to show how our government is bought and paid for. We put this information out to create momentum for change.

Understand and expose the industry. We track the subsidies the industry receives; we analyze industry-friendly arguments around extreme fossil fuel extraction; and we show the impact of fossil fuels on the economy, energy security and climate change. This analysis demonstrates that the primary interests promoted by the industry are their own. And those interests consistently prioritize money over communities and the environment.

Build momentum for change. We provide the information and tools to spread the word and take action on these issues, and we lend our support to organizations and communities fighting the influence of the fossil fuel industry on the front lines, for example around fracking. We also convene an active community of dozens of actors concerned with the influence of dirty energy money on politics.

Resources

  • Our Dirty Energy Money database shows how much money your Senator or Representative has taken from the fossil fuel industry – and it makes it easy to share that information with others! Help spread the word to generate momentum for change.
  • You can also see how dirty energy money influences votes on relevant measures.
  • Find out how much in turn the U.S. government gives oil, gas and coal companies – check out this graphic or our fossil fuel subsidies page.