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Tar Sands Pipeline Stalled or Not, Oil Money Will Flow

'Study shows money flowing to oil lobby ahead of decision on tar sands pipeline in the November elections'

Common Dreams staff report

Protesters in front of the White House in September 2011 demonstrate against the Keystone XL pipeline. (Photograph: Pete Marovich/Corbis)

Call the oil and gas industry what you want, but don't call them cheap.  At least not when it comes to US members of Congress.  In the wake of the Obama Adminstration's decision to delay ruling on the proposed tar sands pipeline from Canada, the industry shows no signs on skimping on campaign contributions as the US campaign season puts it foot on the gas pedal.

Today, the MapLight Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, research organization that reveals money's influence on politics, released an analysis looking at the relationship between oil and gas industry giving and the voting behavior of US House members.  Some key findings:

  • Of the 118 House members who have the Oil & Gas Industry amongst their top 10 contributing industry groups, only two representatives ( Edward Markey and Charles Bass) voted against the deadline on the Keystone pipeline decision imposed in HR 1938.
  • Amongst the 195 House members who have the Oil & Gas industry amongst their top 20 contributing interest groups, only 10 voted against the deadline imposed in HR 1938.

HR 1938 was a House bill pushed last summer that would have directed the President to expedite the consideration and approval of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Though that effort failed in the Senate, it was revived during the end of year payroll tax cut fight, and a form of it ultimately was signed by President Obama.  This gives Obama until February 21st of this year to make a final decision.

Suzanne Goldenberg, environment correspondent for The Guardian, also reported on Maplight's finding, casting the upcoming deadline in further political context:

Obama has until 21 February to make a decision on whether to approve the pipeline, under a compromise tax measure approved late last year. America's top oil lobbyist warned last week that the president would face "huge political consequences" if he did not sign off on the project to pump tar sands crude across the American heartland to refineries on the Texas coast.

The Canadian government is also on the offensive, with an attack this week on "jet-setting celebrities" opposed to tar sands pipelines. At the same time, TransCanada executives have embarked on a letter-writing campaign.

Meanwhile, north of the border, the oil services and pipeline building corporation Enbridge is trying to press its government to approve the Northern Gateway pipeline -- also intended to move tar sands (aka. 'the world's dirtiest fossil fuel') out of Alberta.  That case, as the Globe and Mail reports, just got more difficult as another Enbridge pipeline, this one a natural gas pipeline in the United States, reported a "possible" leak on Tuesday, the same day public hearings opened for Northern Gateway.

U.S. pipeline regulators told Enbridge about the possible leak. A subsequent helicopter over-flight discovered a metre-wide patch of bubbles over the company’s Stingray pipeline, which can carry 560-million cubic feet a day of natural gas from offshore wells in the Gulf of Mexico. The bubbles were found about 100 kilometres from the Louisiana coast.

Despite leaks, politcal delays, and climate science the oil, the gas, and the money keep flowing. For a taste of those numbers, here's the full listing of Maplight's analysis:


Rank of Oil & Gas as a Contributing Interest Group Name Vote on HR 1938 Total (July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2011)
1st Rep. Steven Pearce [R, NM-2] AYE $370,020
  Rep. Mike Pompeo [R, KS-4] AYE $333,156
  Rep. Bill Flores [R, TX-17] AYE $266,184
  Rep. Cory Gardner [R, CO-4] AYE $205,124
  Rep. Dan Boren [D, OK-2] AYE $201,800
  Rep. John Sullivan [R, OK-1] AYE $179,200
  Rep. Jeff Landry [R, LA-3] AYE $176,050
  Rep. Tim Griffin [R, AR-2] AYE $164,709
  Rep. James Lankford [R, OK-5] AYE $156,760
  Rep. Rick Berg [R, ND-0] AYE $151,561
  Rep. Michael Conaway [R, TX-11] AYE $136,850
  Rep. Tim Murphy [R, PA-18] AYE $133,700
  Rep. Dennis Rehberg [R, MT-0] AYE $133,152
  Rep. Steve Scalise [R, LA-1] AYE $125,335
  Rep. Francisco Canseco [R, TX-23] AYE $121,767
  Rep. Pete Olson [R, TX-22] AYE $106,400
  Rep. Tom Cole [R, OK-4] AYE $103,400
  Rep. Cynthia Lummis [R, WY-0] AYE $97,750
  Rep. Doc Hastings [R, WA-4] AYE $97,171
  Rep. Kevin Brady [R, TX-8] AYE $94,900
  Rep. John Culberson [R, TX-7] AYE $91,550
  Rep. Kay Granger [R, TX-12] AYE $79,850
  Rep. Ted Poe [R, TX-2] AYE $79,700
  Rep. Glenn Thompson [R, PA-5] AYE $73,600
  Rep. William Thornberry [R, TX-13] AYE $68,425
  Rep. Blake Farenthold [R, TX-27] AYE $67,600
  Rep. Mike Coffman [R, CO-6] AYE $61,250
  Rep. Ralph Hall [R, TX-4] AYE $55,208
  Rep. Doug Lamborn [R, CO-5] AYE $39,750
  Rep. Rob Bishop [R, UT-1] AYE $21,750
2nd Rep. John Fleming [R, LA-4] AYE $203,400
  Rep. Mike Ross [D, AR-4] AYE $141,450
  Rep. Bob Gibbs [R, OH-18] AYE $78,800
  Rep. Bill Cassidy [R, LA-6] AYE $77,000
  Rep. Scott Tipton [R, CO-3] AYE $66,250
  Rep. Gregg Harper [R, MS-3] AYE $54,250
  Rep. Todd Platts [R, PA-19] AYE $6,400
3rd Rep. Joe Barton [R, TX-6] AYE $137,270
  Rep. Charles Boustany [R, LA-7] AYE $126,050
  Rep. Stephen Fincher [R, TN-8] AYE $98,050
  Rep. Jim Matheson [D, UT-2] AYE $90,550
  Rep. Jim Costa [D, CA-20] AYE $79,650
  Rep. Lynn Jenkins [R, KS-2] AYE $73,250
  Rep. Tim Huelskamp [R, KS-1] AYE $64,846
  Rep. Michael McCaul [R, TX-10] AYE $63,850
  Rep. Raymond Green [D, TX-29] AYE $62,700
  Rep. Michael Burgess [R, TX-26] AYE $62,150
  Rep. Dan Benishek [R, MI-1] AYE $47,750
  Rep. Louis Gohmert [R, TX-1] AYE $43,150
  Rep. Lou Barletta [R, PA-11] AYE $40,525
  Rep. Morgan Griffith [R, VA-9] AYE $35,150
  Rep. Tom McClintock [R, CA-4] AYE $18,600
4th Rep. Frederick Upton [R, MI-6] AYE $120,700
  Rep. Marsha Blackburn [R, TN-7] AYE $82,750
  Rep. John Barrow [D, GA-12] AYE $80,300
  Rep. John Shimkus [R, IL-19] AYE $80,250
  Rep. Frank Lucas [R, OK-3] AYE $77,250
  Rep. Alan Nunnelee [R, MS-1] AYE $74,550
  Rep. David McKinley [R, WV-1] AYE $62,250
  Rep. Daniel Lungren [R, CA-3] AYE $61,700
  Rep. Edward Whitfield [R, KY-1] AYE $55,500
  Rep. Darrell Issa [R, CA-49] AYE $54,500
  Rep. Rick Crawford [R, AR-1] AYE $38,922
  Rep. Paul Broun [R, GA-10] AYE $28,700
5th Rep. Kevin McCarthy [R, CA-22] AYE $156,100
  Rep. Rodney Alexander [R, LA-5] AYE $64,146
  Rep. Todd Young [R, IN-9] AYE $47,150
  Rep. William Shuster [R, PA-9] AYE $46,250
  Rep. Donald Young [R, AK-0] AYE $37,550
  Rep. Bill Johnson [R, OH-6] AYE $16,750
6th Rep. Peter Sessions [R, TX-32] AYE $90,950
  Rep. Mike Pence [R, IN-6] AYE $68,400
  Rep. Shelley Capito [R, WV-2] AYE $60,750
  Rep. Lee Terry [R, NE-2] AYE $58,150
  Rep. Devin Nunes [R, CA-21] AYE $50,250
  Rep. Adam Kinzinger [R, IL-11] AYE $45,400
  Rep. Geoff Davis [R, KY-4] AYE $42,750
  Rep. John Carter [R, TX-31] NV $40,050
  Rep. Larry Bucshon [R, IN-8] AYE $30,200
7th Rep. Kevin Yoder [R, KS-3] AYE $79,550
  Rep. Lamar Smith [R, TX-21] AYE $56,000
  Rep. Randy Neugebauer [R, TX-19] AYE $47,200
  Rep. Joe Heck [R, NV-3] AYE $41,500
  Rep. Diane Black [R, TN-6] AYE $40,550
  Rep. Charles Gonzalez [D, TX-20] AYE $31,250
  Rep. Michael Simpson [R, ID-2] AYE $31,200
  Rep. Jeff Duncan [R, SC-3] AYE $25,000
  Rep. Kenny Marchant [R, TX-24] AYE $23,900
  Rep. Steve Womack [R, AR-3] AYE $20,219
  Rep. Mike Kelly [R, PA-3] AYE $18,750
8th Rep. Greg Walden [R, OR-2] AYE $78,100
  Rep. Jeb Hensarling [R, TX-5] AYE $72,300
  Rep. Charles Dent [R, PA-15] AYE $56,950
  Rep. Timothy Walberg [R, MI-7] AYE $38,150
  Rep. Brett Guthrie [R, KY-2] AYE $28,400
  Rep. Al Green [D, TX-9] AYE $16,900
9th Rep. Michele Bachmann [R, MN-6] NV $78,420
  Rep. Scott Garrett [R, NJ-5] AYE $42,400
  Rep. Spencer Bachus [R, AL-6] AYE $42,000
  Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers [R, WA-5] AYE $36,850
  Rep. Steven Chabot [R, OH-1] AYE $36,700
  Rep. Tom Reed [R, NY-29] AYE $32,250
  Rep. John Gingrey [R, GA-11] AYE $27,500
  Rep. Samuel Johnson [R, TX-3] AYE $26,100
  Rep. Joseph Pitts [R, PA-16] AYE $25,000
  Rep. Sue Myrick [R, NC-9] AYE $24,500
  Rep. Trey Gowdy [R, SC-4] AYE $18,250
10th Rep. Eric Cantor [R, VA-7] AYE $144,650
  Rep. Paul Ryan [R, WI-1] AYE $57,000
  Rep. Kristi Noem [R, SD-0] AYE $50,900
  Rep. Jeff Denham [R, CA-19] AYE $33,900
  Rep. Edward Markey [D, MA-7] NOE $32,250
  Rep. Vicky Hartzler [R, MO-4] AYE $30,600
  Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler [R, WA-3] AYE $29,600
  Rep. Charles Bass [R, NH-2] NOE $28,850
  Rep. Henry Cuellar [D, TX-28] AYE $26,300
  Rep. Jason Chaffetz [R, UT-3] AYE $26,000
  Rep. Tom Graves [R, GA-9] AYE $25,500

METHODOLOGY: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to current members of the U.S. House of Representatives from the Oil & Gas industry, July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2011. Campaign contribution figures and industry classification provided by Top 10 contributing industry groups calculated by MapLight. Contributions from political parties and from other candidates are not included in MapLight's "Top 10" lists.

A link to this data release can be found here.



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