What’s more frustrating than the oil and gas industry raking in record profits at the expense of consumers and the environment?
Learning that they spent $124.4 million lobbying the federal government in 2022 for favorable legislation and regulations, and knowing that their spending has tangible results.
A new report from Open Secrets found that the oil and gas industry spent $124.4 million on political activities last year, and that they outspent pro-environment groups by 2,000%!
While ordinary citizens are concerned about their household budgets, the environment, and the future of the planet, the oil and gas industry continued its decades-long campaign to curry favor with lawmakers, undo federal fuel efficiency standards, promote fossil fuels, and “thwart policies designed to slow climate change.”
The oil and gas industry profited from global instability, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drove fuel prices “to unprecedented levels.” The largest corporations combined for $1 trillion in sales last year, and made a staggering 15% profit on those sales.
This fuels (no pun intended) a vicious cycle, as the oil and gas industry can pump millions of dollars of those profits into lobbying to ensure future profitability. Regular citizens who want their government to protect the environment, take crucial action to address climate change, or look out for consumers? They don’t have that luxury.
The data makes it clear how uneven the playing field is. A recent analysis by the Pennsylvania Capital-Star found that groups opposed to climate policies spent $2 billion on political activities (including lobbying, campaign contributions, and advertising) from 2008 to 2018, outspending their opposition 27 to 1!
Even when important legislation is passed that promotes clean energy initiatives, like last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, the oil and gas industry is hard at work watering down its impact.
For example, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a crucial swing vote for the Democrats, only agreed to support the Inflation Reduction Act if lawmakers added a provision requiring the government to auction leases for offshore oil and gas drilling before they issue permits for clean energy projects like wind or solar projects.
What Can We Do?
We need to reclaim our democracy and stamp out the influence of big money in politics. One way you can get involved is to join our Society of Stampers.
On the policy front, we need legislation like the Democracy for All amendment, which would overturn the disastrous Citizens United decision.
In the upcoming months, we’ll be spotlighting both legislative and grassroots efforts to help return our democracy to the people. So stay tuned.