“These lobbyists are not getting hired to advocate for American energy consumers—they will push an agenda that benefits the new majority’s donors no matter what it costs taxpayers.”
An analysis published Friday by the nonpartisan watchdog Accountable.US revealed that numerous former fossil fuel lobbyists are being hired to work for the Republican-controlled 118th Congress, including in high-level positions on the House Natural Resources Committee.
“As the Republicans majority begins the new Congress, former oil industry lobbyists will have new and growing influence as top staffers for congressmen on key committees,” the analysis states.
Accountable.US detailed the close ties between Nancy Peele—chief of staff to House Natural Resources Committee Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)—and fossil fuel interests.
[pullquote]”It’s no surprise that Big Oil is infiltrating the halls of Congress after spending millions to elect some of the most extreme legislators in American history.”[/pullquote]
Peele’s history includes:
- Lobbying Congress on behalf of Taylor Energy Co. LLC, an oil company liable for causing the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the “longest running oil spill in U.S. history”;
- Representing Hercules Offshore Inc., a gas company that caused a “massive blowout” and two-day fire in the Gulf of Mexico; and
- Lobbying on behalf of Hornbeck Offshore Services to ensure that they continued to profit off the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Majority Leader Steve Scalise’s [R-La.] Chief of Staff Megan Bel Miller came to Scalise’s office straight out of working as an oil and gas lobbyist… Miller lobbied Congress on behalf of National Oceans Industry Association, a group representing the offshore oil and gas industry. Bel Miller advocated for polluting industry interests on numerous conservation issues, including the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and offshore leasing. Majority Whip Tom Emmer’s [R-Minn.] new Policy Director Ian Foley is an energy and mining lobbyist. In 2022, Foley lobbied Congress on behalf of the uranium mining industry and public utilities with oil and gas portfolios.
These are but a handful of the many examples of the revolving door between Big Oil and Congress highlighted in the analysis.
“It’s no surprise that Big Oil is infiltrating the halls of Congress after spending millions to elect some of the most extreme legislators in American history,” Accountable.US energy and environment director Jordan Schreiber said in a statement. “These lobbyists are not getting hired to advocate for American energy consumers—they will push an agenda that benefits the new majority’s donors no matter what it costs taxpayers.”
Underscoring the analysis’ findings, the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed legislation that would require the federal government to lease a portion of public lands and waters for fossil fuel extraction for each non-emergency drawdown of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The bill was introduced by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee and was the top recipient of oil and gas PAC money in the House Republican caucus during the last election cycle.
NEW: MAGA Republicans in Congress just passed a bill that would obstruct one of @POTUS’ only powers to protect consumers from Big Oil’s price gouging—letting oil companies get rich at Americans’ expense. https://t.co/pcwPGdVkIs
— Accountable.US (@accountable_us) January 27, 2023
“American consumers pay more for energy so Big Oil can get richer under [House Speaker] Kevin McCarthy’s [R-Calif.] plan,” Schreiber said in another statement. “Big Oil CEOs have given the MAGA majority big bucks while the rest of us simply pay our taxes so it’s no surprise they come out ahead.”
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