The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Seth Gladstone –

Sessions' Family Invested in Oil & Gas Company the Same Year He Aimed to Deregulate Fracking

Advocacy Group Raises New Questions Around Wife’s Big Investment In Energen


As Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions faces confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Food & Water Watch is raising questions about new information regarding family holdings in an oil and gas company as Sessions sought to deregulate fracking.

In 1999, Sessions was the sole co-sponsor of a bill introduced by Senator James Inhofe to exempt underground injections of fracking-related fluids from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The bill--the original Halliburton Loophole--was eventually folded into the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Through information obtained via, Food & Water Watch discovered that the same year Senator Sessions introduced the legislation, he and his wife acquired a larger stake in Energen, an Alabama-based oil and gas company that had pioneered fracking in the state.

In 1995, as Sessions was running for a Senate seat, he and his wife held between $1,001-$15,000 in Energen stock. They reported the same for 1996, 1997 and 1998. But in 1999 -- the year Inhofe and Sessions introduced the bill to exempt Energen's fracking operations from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act -- the Senator reported that his wife had separately acquired an additional stake in the company, valued at $15,000-$50,0000.

In 2008, Sessions and his wife cashed out the stock. After averaging about $5 a share in 1995, Energen stock hit a year-long high of $78 a share in May of 2008.

"Senator Sessions' attempt to deregulating fracking at a time his wife was acquiring a large stake in an oil and gas company that would directly benefit raises many questions," says Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. "It adds to the many other ethics questions that are swirling around his nomination--not to mention his troubling civil rights record."

Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people's health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

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