Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

This #GivingTuesday, whatever is your first priority, your second priority has to be independent media.

2021 has been one of the most dangerous and difficult years for independent journalism that we’ve ever seen. Our democracy is facing existential threats including the climate emergency, vaccine apartheid amid deadly pandemic, a global crisis for biodiversity, reproductive freedoms under assault, rising authoritarianism worldwide, and corporate-funded corruption of democracy that run beneath all of this. Giving Tuesday is a critical opportunity to make sure our journalism remains funded so that we can stay focused on all your priority issues. Please contribute today to keep Common Dreams alive and growing.

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

Hickenlooper Manchin

Democratic U.S. Sens. John Hickenlooper of Colorado (left) and Joe Manchin of West Virginia (right)—whose households own millions of dollars in combined fossil fuel assets—shake hands in the United States Senate on September 28, 2021. (Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

One in Four US Senators Still Hold Fossil Fuel Investments Even as World Burns

Reporting reveals the households of at least 28 senators own a combined minimum of $3.7 million and as much as $12.6 million in fossil fuel assets.

Brett Wilkins

As President Joe Biden aims to assure the world that the United States will fulfill its promise to slash its greenhouse gas emissions in half from 2005 levels by the end of the decade, a new report published Friday reveals that the members of the U.S. Senate who would have to pass climate legislation are heavily invested in the fossil fuel industry.

Sludge reports the households of at least 28 U.S. senators—in both the Democratic and Republican caucuses—hold a combined minimum of $3.7 million and as much as $12.6 million in fossil fuel investments.

According to the report:

Of the 28 senators, at least 20 hold publicly traded stocks in companies like oil supermajor Chevron, pipeline giant Enterprise Products, or electric utility NextEra that belong to trade associations that are lobbying Congress against taking up strong legislation to curb polluting emissions.

Five senators are invested in energy funds built around oil and gas assets, and three own nonpublic stock in private fossil fuel companies. The investments, held by the senators, their spouse, jointly, or a dependent, are disclosed to the Senate Office of Public Records in very broad ranges and often buried in hundreds of pages of scanned paper forms, making a more precise count of their total value impossible.

At least half a dozen of the senators sit on environment- or climate-related committees. The household of Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)—who has worked incessantly to destroy or dilute climate action in the Build Back Better Act and beyond—has received over $1 million in income from Enersystems, a coal brokerage firm the senator founded in the 1980s.

According to Sludge, Manchin "has stripped the Democrats' budget reconciliation bill of major climate programs that would have transitioned coal-fired plants like the one where the company, now run by his son, holds a prime fuel services contract," while the committee he chairs "also added more than $11.3 billion in funding to the bipartisan infrastructure bill that could benefit his family company's niche waste coal industry."

Other Democratic senators whose households are heavily invested in fossil fuels include:

  • John Hickenlooper (Col.) holds up to $1 million in investments in Chevron and other polluters;
  • Tom Carper (Del.) owns as much as $274,000 in Chevron and Duke Energy shares;
  • Gary Peters (Mich.) has up to $355,000 in NextEra, DTE Energy, and Pacific Gas & Electric stock in his portfolio; and
  • The wife of Angus King—a Maine independent who caucuses with Democrats—owns up to $50,000 worth of NextEra shares.

Earlier this year, Common Dreams reported that six Democratic senators—Manchin, Chris Coons (Del.), Maggie Hassan (N.H.), Mark Kelly (Ariz.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), and Jon Tester (Mont.)—have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in combined campaign contributions from fossil fuel corporations, some of which have touted their purported support for climate action, over the past decade.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Research Reveals How PR Firms Have Spent Decades Fueling Climate Misinformation

"The best time to stop working for fossil fuel clients was 20 years ago, when we had much more time to stop the climate emergency. The second best time is now."

Jessica Corbett ·


Progressives Decry US Gun Control Failures After 'Truly Sickening' Michigan School Shooting

"A 15-year-old shooter may have picked up the weapon, but Congress—through its inaction on gun violence—may as well have handed it to him."

Brett Wilkins ·


New Climate Study Predicting More Rain Than Snow in the Arctic 'Rings Alarm Bells'

"There are huge ramifications of these changes," said the lead researcher, "all of which have implications on wildlife populations and human livelihoods."

Jessica Corbett ·


Durbin Introduces Amendment to End 'Legacy of Cruelty' by Closing Guantánamo

"It's time at long last to face reality and... close the detention facility at Guantánamo. Let's put this dark chapter behind us once and for all."

Brett Wilkins ·


With SCOTUS Set to Hear Abortion Case, Anti-Choice Groups Prepare to Enact 'Post-Roe Strategy'

Right-wing groups are lobbying lawmakers to pass state-level restrictions and ban sales of abortion pills, should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo