Energy interests spend over $150 million on lobbying

E&E News is reporting on lobbying and the climate bill, noting that

  • Oil and Gas companies spent $37.7 in lobbying in the 2nd quarter
  • Exxon Mobil spent $13.6 million alone.
  • Environmental groups spent $5.3 million total.

Now $37.7 to $5.3 may seem like a big difference in influence fire-power, but that actually understates what's going on. Using the US Senate's searchable database, we undertook our own analysis.

We looked at all companies and associations that spent more than $200,000 in the quarter and which self-described as working on energy, utility or coal mining issues.  We also included the large coal transporting railroads, as all are self-described working on ACES.  (Note that the lobby reports simply list the lump sum and indicate all the issues that the filer lobbied on, so there's no way to tell how much was spent on climate issues vs other issues the client might be interested in.)

We found nearly 50 firms or associations with a vested interest in the outcome of the climate debate that spent a combined spent $72.7 million in the second quarter. For the whole first half the same group spent $152.7 million.  

Some notable players include some of the most active dirty-energy advocates:

  • The US Chamber of Commerce: $7.43 million  (spent more than Chevron)
  • Southern Companies $2.7 million
  • Koch Industries $2.45 million
  • Peabody Coal: $1.1 million

Direct lobbying is only one form of influence: other tools include campaign and PAC contributions. We'll be keeping an eye on these as well.