Texas is oil country, and has been for a long time. With headquarters of numerous major oil companies, countless refineries polluting communities all along the Gulf Coast, and oil fields and pipelines criss-crossing the state, the oil industry is truly entrenched in the state of Texas. And the dirty energy money flowing to members of the State Legislature, unfortunately, is in a league of its own.
A Flood of Industry Money
Since 2006, fossil fuel interests have provided $11.86 million in campaign contributions to members of the State Legislature. The Speaker of the House, Joe Straus, has accepted over $1.11 million in dirty energy money alone.
The oil and gas contributions in the state have risen over 80% from already high levels in 2006 to where they are today. Meanwhile, production and reserves of crude oil and natural gas in the state increased significantly over the same time period:
The Dirty Details
Some topline stats from the dirty energy money database:
- Current Senators and Representatives have accepted $11,860,233 from the fossil fuel industry since 2006.
- Joe Straus (R), the current Speaker of the House, has accepted $1,111,193 from the fossil fuel industry since 2006. This is the largest amount given to a single individual in Texas.
- Tom Craddick (R), the former Speaker of the House, has accepted $597,049 from the fossil fuel industry since 2006. This is the second largest amount given to a single individual.
- Dan Branch (R), the Representative for much of Dallas, has accepted $462,974 from the fossil fuel industry since 2006. This is the third largest amount given to a single individual.
CASE STUDY: House Bill 788, Amendment 2: a climate denial fight
House Bill 788, Amendment 2, was a failed to beat back a bill that was essentially promoting denial of climate change by stripping the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s references to greenhouse gas pollution as a problem needing attention.
The amendment lost in a vote of 50-91. Representatives voting against the scientific fact of climate change had accepted $5,989,543 in total from the fossil fuel industry. On average, these Representatives receive 3 times more per person from dirty energy interests, than those who voted in favor of respecting climate science.