A Gusher of Oil Industry Lobbying This Year

The Associated Press reports that oil and gas companies are pouring a chunk of their obscene profits into persuading politicians to keep America addicted to their fossil fuel. 

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in just the first three months of this year the industry spent $44.5 million lobbying Congress and federal agencies, with half of that kicked in by three of the largest oil giants -- Exxon-Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips. No doubt that figure has balooned over the past three months.  (Maybe this partly explains the recent rise in prices at the pump -- the oil companies want to recoup some of their massive lobby expenditures of late.)

Up until 2006, the oil and gas industry typically spent $50 million to $60 million a year on lobbying.  But this year's exuberant spending spree -- fueled by industry fears about a windfall profit tax, royalty relief repeal and clean energy legislation -- is set to shatter last year's record total of $129 million, which itself represented a 73% increase from the previous year.  No other polluter industry even comes close to this pace.

Looks like those multi-billions in profits -- at our expense -- are coming in handy for Big Oil these days.  Indeed, the industry's lobbying largesse may be paying off, as illustrated by the recent Senate committee vote in favor of an energy bill that would lift a ban on offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico close, endangering Florida's sensitive coast.

It would be irresponsible if Congress succumbed to the oil and gas industry's crude pandering and slick propaganda rather than moving America beyond oil by enacting a clean energy agenda.  Our elected leaders need to realize that record profits make Big Oil false prophets when it comes to driving America's energy policy.