The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Nell Greenberg
(415) 659-0557

Oil Lobbyists and Lawyers Crowd out Public in Today's Oil Hearing

Statement by Ginger Cassidy of the Rainforest Action Network


At 5:00am this morning over 40 youth and concerned citizens queued up
in front of the Rayburn building and waited more than four hours to
attend Rep. Chairman Ed Markey's (D-Mass.) hearing in his House Energy
and Environment Subcommittee to discuss offshore oil drilling safety and
U.S. energy policy. When the doors opened at 9:20am, however, it was
the oil lawyers and lobbyists that took the seats. There was only space
for four out of the 40 members of the public who waited to be let in.

Below is a statement from Ginger Cassidy of Rainforest Action
Network who attended the hearing.

For live updates from today's oil hearing follow @changechevron
and @dirtyenergy.

"Where citizens should be sitting in congressional hearings we have
oil lawyers and lobbyists, ensuring their interests at the expense of
the public's. Just behind me is a wall of Chevron lawyers hawking our
representatives to protect business-as-usual even at a time when it is
clear that business-as-usual for the oil industry is incredibly

"The loose safety regulations, slack oversight and outright
legislative support that our government provides for corporations--most
egregiously dirty energy corporations--have been on clear display with
the BP oil disaster. We are seeing all of Big Oil at today's hearing,
because this is an industry wide problem.

"Today's hearing is a perfect illustration of the role that
corporations play in our government. This revolving door between
corporations and government is undermining our democracy and literally
destroying our communities and environment.

"How many times do we have to see reckless corporations risking the
lives and livelihoods of our communities while being subsidized and
propped up by the very institutions that are supposed to be regulating
them and protecting us?"

Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is headquartered in San Francisco, California with offices staff in Tokyo, Japan, and Edmonton, Canada, plus thousands of volunteer scientists, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens around the world. We believe that a sustainable world can be created in our lifetime and that aggressive action must be taken immediately to leave a safe and secure world for our children.