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Members Who Supported Big Oil Have Received $38.6 Million From the Industry
(Photo: Elan Ruskin / Flickr)

Members Who Supported Big Oil Have Received $38.6 Million From the Industry

(Photo: Elan Ruskin / Flickr)

The House of Representatives, which already holds the title of the most anti-environment House ever, today added another mark to the list — the Domestic Energy Production Act, H.R. 4480. The act is specifically designed to increase oil and gas development, with measures that block safeguards from smog and pollution and mandate drilling on public lands. The House Republicans passed this pollution and plunder energy package overrun by oil and gas industry interests, 248 to 163. This breakdown includes 229 Republicans and 19 Democratic members.

A ThinkProgress analysis of Center for Responsive Politics data shows how that oil and gas money overwhelmingly went to the votes for gutting safeguards from air pollution, drilling regulations and public lands protections:

  • The 248 pro-Big Oil votes received over four times more oil and gas contributions over their careers.
  • The 248 members — 229 Republicans and 19 Democrats — voted to pass the bill and enrich Big Oil. They received a total of $38.6 million in oil and gas campaign cash — or an average of $156,000 each — for their federal campaigns.
  • Of the yes votes, 229 Republicans received $36.2 million.
  • The 163 members who voted no — 158 Democrats and 5 Republicans — voted to protect children and seniors from smog, and ensure that our public lands could be enjoyed by all Americans, not just used for oil production. They received $5.8 million, or $36,000 each.


The oil industry has rarely been more influential in the House, based on lobbying and campaign contributions:

  • The House is on track to collect a record amount of oil industry contributions this cycle, having already reached 2008 and 2010 levels. This hike in Big Oil spending has been predominantly funneled to Republicans, who received 88 percent of the industry’s campaign dollars for the 2012 cycle. And these are direct donations only — it does not include Super PAC spending or other campaign assistance.
  • Coal company contributions to Congress are on track this year to beat a record $8.1 million spending, and House Republicans received 85 percent of the coal industry’s cash.
  • Lobbying spending by both oil and coal reached $150 million and $18 million, respectively, in 2011.

Republicans have said they are for all forms of energy, but the Domestic Energy Production Act passed today shows much different priorities. While the energy package included many provisions to encourage oil and gas, clean energy was included only twice. GOP leaders did not even permit debate over amendments to include support for renewables and other forms of clean energy.

Even as the White House has threatened to veto the package, passing this bill reaffirms the House Republicans’ dedication to “oil above all.”