Big Oil’s Big Friends in Congress

House Republicans gathered en masse on the steps of the Capitol this week, ready to launch a choreographed full-throated cheer for more drilling before the Washington press corps. But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. The politicians were met by a throng of protestors who effectively drowned out the “drill everywhere” chorus with their own chants and cheers. The Repubs tried to shout “drill, baby, drill” and “all of the above” but all the reporters were able to hear was the crowd yelling back “spill, baby, spill!” and “all about oil”, among other creative cat-calls.
Like cockroaches fleeing a dirty kitchen when the lights go on, the pols abruptly ended their ‘news’ conference and scurried back into the Capitol. Read some of the coverage here and here to get a flavor of the follies.
Though it seems crazy that any responsible elected official would support policies that feed the nation’s dangerous addiction to oil, it’s probably not surprising when you consider the motivation of those most eager to drill our coasts and special places. As this analysis (PDF) by NRDC reveals, Big Oil’s biggest boosters in Congress voted consistently against clean energy solutions…not once, not twice, but a whopping 61 times.
We’re talking about measures that would have increased renewable energy and improved energy efficiency – real solutions that trump any potential benefit from more drilling. Indeed, NRDC’s latest analysis (PDF) confirms that clean energy is the quickest and cheapest way to lower gas prices by guaranteeing immediate and sustained oil savings for consumers. 
Now if we could only harness the power of all that hot air emanating from the halls of Congress, America’s energy crisis would be solved. Until then, let’s hope our elected leaders stop pushing to increase oil company profits at the expense of real changes in our nation’s energy policy that will actually help ease people’s pain at the pump and break America’s oil addiction.