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New Report Shows Explosive Growth in Climate Change Lobby

by Kim McGuire

The number of lobbyists seeking to influence federal policy on climate change has grown more than 300 percent in five years, according to a new report by the Center for Public Integrity.

Among the report's findings: More than 770 companies and organizations hired 2,340 lobbyists to work on climate change and spent at least $90 million lobbying in 2008. The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity - which includes St. Louis companies Ameren, Peabody Energy, and Arch Coal - topped the list of those focused solely on the issue, spending $9.95 million.

* Finance, insurance, and investment firms had as many lobbyists - about 130 - as alternative energy firms last year.

* Despite the huge growth in the number of environmental, health and energy lobbyists, they are outnumbered by industry and other interests 8 to 1.

The report, The Climate Change Lobby, includes a searchable database of climate lobbyists. Using disclosure reports, the database reveals how much lobbyists were paid each year by their clients.

The database shows former Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt was paid $120,000 per quarter of 2008 by Peabody. Ameren is also listed as one of Gephardt's clients.

In addition to Gephardt, the report lists former Senator John Breaux of Louisiana and former Congressman Robert Livingston of Louisiana among the "power players" of the climate change lobby.

"This new Center for Public Integrity report shows clearly how much money is pouring into Washington on the issue of climate change," said Center Director Bill Buzenberg. "What's also clear is how difficult it will be for the Obama Administration to get meaningful climate change legislation through in face of such an enormous lobbying push by so many special interests."

Do you think the Obama administration will enact climate change legislation during his tenure? Should "clean coal" play a role in our energy future?

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