Posts Tagged ‘keystone xl’

Cheap Oil, Expensive Lobbying

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015 by Vbhotla

PLUMMETING OIL PRICES are good news for drivers—and for lobbyists. With oil prices continuing to drop, the Houston Chronicle reports that, although the price drop is hurting drilling companies, the oil industry plans to ramp up lobbying efforts in favor of continued tax breaks and decreased regulation.

The industry argues that these elements are necessary to keep prices low.  The Associated Press reports that Jack Gerard, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, claims that while the low oil prices will hurt some companies in the short term, the U.S. is on its way to becoming a global leader in oil production as long as it continues to offer the industry tax breaks and no new regulations.

Oil companies are certainly willing to spend to ensure that beneficial policies stay in place.  According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the oil and gas industry spent more than $50 million on lobbying in 2014, and with the Keystone XL pipeline still in limbo, it seems likely that they’ll continue to be big spenders in 2015.

By the same token, the sudden drop in oil prices is actually harming green energy policies that were put in place as a result of high oil prices. The Wall Street Journal notes that the Obama administration spent billions on initiatives to boost sales of electric and hybrid vehicles, along with consumer rail projects, but as gas prices fall, consumers are again returning to trucks and SUVs. Although gas prices are expected to remain low throughout 2015, many of the policies

Given the impact of gas prices on the daily lives of most Americans, it’s no surprise that a sudden fluctuation can throw lawmakers and lobbyists into policy limbo. Whether the steep decline of oil prices will have longer-term policy implications remains to be seen, but both oil companies and  environmental advocates will try to make themselves heard on Capitol Hill.

Keystone and K Street

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 by Matthew Barnes

THE SENATE FAILED TO PASS LEGISLATION which would approve the construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline. The bill was narrowly defeated 59-41 in a vote Tuesday. The legislation needed to reach the 60 vote supermajority threshold in order for it to be passed.

The failure of the legislation to pass could be a fatal blow to Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) who faces an uphill battle in her reelection campaign which will be decided by a December 6 run-off election. Her challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and his campaign wasted no time in using the bill’s defeat writing in an email, “Senator Mary Landrieu’s failure to pass the Keystone XL Pipeline this evening is a perfect snapshot of her time as Chair of the Energy Committee – a failure…Conversely, Dr. Cassidy passed the Keystone pipeline out of the House last week with wide bi-partisan support.”

A failed re-election bid by Sen. Landrieu would be another blow to the Democratic Party, which suffered a disastrous Mid-Term Election cycle in which Republicans won the majority in the Senate and have so far gained 8 seats in the Senate. Democrats now have only 44 seats in the Senate including Sen. Landrieu, while the Republicans have 53.

The change in control of the Senate has also brought about with it some changes on K Street. Lobbyists with ties to prominent Republicans stand to gain significant influence in the new congress. According to The Hill, “Lobbyists whose stock is about to skyrocket include those with ties to new leadership on the Banking, Finance, Judiciary, Commerce and Energy committees, all of which business groups will be watching closely in the next Congress.”

Moreover, the soon-to-be Majority Leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has indicated, that when he takes over the leadership of the Senate, he will make its “committees more active, thereby making chairmen more powerful — and connected K Streeters even more valuable.”

Keystone Part Deux

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013 by Geoffrey Lyons

KEYSTONE XL IS reemerging as a central environmental issue after the State Department released a Draft Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) last Friday.  Environmentalists are “fuming”  and green groups  “reeling” at the Department’s findings.  According to The Hill:

Opponents of Keystone are furious at State’s environmental assessment of the project, which brushed aside  one of their central arguments against it: namely, that it would exacerbate clime change by expanding the use of oil sands.

It can easily be expected that Keystone advocates and opponents alike will shower more money on the issue as a direct result of the report, the former feeding their momentum and the latter doing all in their power to starve it.  Here are last year’s numbers, from CRP:

Oil and Gas Lobbying in 2012

Royal Dutch Shell $14,480,000
Exxon Mobil $12,970,000
Koch Industries $10,540,000
Chevron Corp $9,550,000
BP $8,590,000

 

Environmental Lobbying in 2012

Environmental Defense Fund

$1,819,000

Nature Conservancy

$1,550,000

BlueGreen Alliance

$1,190,000

Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund

$888,933

Defenders of Wildlife

$620,555