Its not only the recent climate vote that suggests the influence of Big Oil in the Senate. Yesterday the Senate took two more votes where the influence of Big Oil was arguably a Big Factor.

Yesterday the Senate voted down a bill, S3044 that would have given some consumers relief from high gas prices, established a windfall profits tax on the oil industry, and remove some subsidies to Big Oil. Those who opposed took an average of 3.44 times more oil money than those Senators who supported it.

S3044: Avg Oil Money Per Vote
Yea (51) $53,267
Nay (43) $183,434
NV (6) $56,021

It also should be noted that 3044 contained the truly stupid NOPEC provisions, so some may have had other reasons for voting against it.

Later in the day, the Senate tried to pass incentives for renewable energy production and green job creation – again. And again they were shot down by Big Oil’s best friends. Those who voted against S 6049 took on average 2.72 times more oil money since 2000 than those who supported it.

Avg Oil Money Per Vote
Yea (50) $62,444
Nay (44) $170,048
NV (6) $56,021
So what does all this mean? Some will point out, rightly, that these votes reflect the fact that 75% of oil money campaign contributions go to Republicans. But it turns out that oil money is a fairly reliable indicator of how people vote even within the parties. For instance, House Democrats who voted against clean energy over the last several years took an average of 6.7 times as much money from Big Oil. Senate Democrats who voted against clean energy took more than twice as much from Big Oil. Read more in our key findings to Follow the Oil Money.

It seems unlikely that Big Oil is actually giving candidates money only if they agree to vote a certain way on key issues. We are not arguing for a conspiracy here.

What we are observing, is that there is a strong correlation between votes against clean energy and climate, and donations from the oil industry. If you care about these issues, you should urge your Representatives to stop taking oil money.


  • Energy based on fossil fuels is “old energy.” Those countries that transition to next-energy, renewable and more efficient energy sources, will lead the World through the 21st Century. Democrats must reject bush’s appeal to explore off-shore and in the Artic and postpone formally approving an energy policy until a Democratic President is in the White House. Cheney and bush are incapable of doing anything that benefits the people.

    Here are some of my ideas towards a future energy policy:
    1] Eliminate tax breaks for big oil and turn tax incentives to those companies with new ready to go technologies that make our oil use more efficient; in auto-truck mileage, heating systems and the like.
    2] Conservation; tax incentives to companies that use creative measures reducing employee daily travel back and forth to work, those capable of shifting to 3 or 4 day work weeks; promoting secure telecommuting. Why do we have to transport garbage 4 hours by tractor trailers to land fills; support garbage burning facilities that create energy as a by product.
    3] Fund new fuel technologies and the distribution of; wind, solar and biomass, along with hydrogen fuel cell and electric autos.

    Thank you!

  • Dear Albert,

    I agree with your position on Bush and Cheney’s negative impact on the US and the world in general, and your opinion that much needs to be done to convert our nation to clean, renewable energy.

    However, I disagree with your suggestion that we start creating garbage-burning facilities. While energy could be a byproduct, burning trash, esp. trash such as styrofoam and plastic, causes the release of hazardous chemicals.

    I believe that we should reduce the amount of trash we produce in the first place through composting programs and through more efficient recycling programs. We should also educate ourselves about recycling and pressure our government to create more educational programs for everyday people to learn how to recycle. Most people do not even realize there are different grades/types of plastic! Often the plastic we use is type 5 or greater, e.g. yogurt containers, and cannot be recycled in most areas.

  • Dear Allison,

    I agree with you that we should not burn trash for energy. However the technology is availabe to completely recycle trash with no harmful byproducts.
    If you Google depolymerization or thermal depolymyrization, you’ll find that there are are at least three research and/or production projects that are turning plastic back into oil.
    The one in Carthage, Missouri, is even more versatile, throwing in waste from a turkey processing facility.

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