America’s oil and gas industry and the coal industry have increased their lobbying budgets by 50% in the first three months of this year. Key players have already spent $44.5 million in a stepped-up effort to cut off support for cap and trade legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The campaign – predictably – involves industry front groups, lobby firms, television, radio and print advertising as well as well-placed donations to key members of Congress. The goal of this effort is to kill or at least water down cap and trade bills in Congress.
Interestingly, the donations of a “political nature” went to seven Democrats, all of whom received campaign donations in excess of $100,000 from the oil and gas industry, coal producers and utilities during the 2008 elections. It’s being reported that the fate of the legislation referred to above lies in the hands of twelve Democratic members of Congress and the seven mentioned in that group. Another two of the groups received more than $90,000 last year.
About 140 businesses and organizations entered the climate change debate on Capitol Hill in the first quarter of this year. Those new players drove a 14% increase in the number of interests lobbying on global warming, compared to the same time last year. That increase comes on top of already rapid growth from 2003 through 2008, when the number of climate change lobbyists increased more than 400% to over 770. Most of them represent manufacturers, power companies, and the oil and gas industry.
It’s quite evident that lobbyists have far too much power in our nation’s capital. If you need some insight and information on lobbying reform you can contact the U.S. Public Interest Research Group at www.uspirg.org.
Source: The Guardian
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