What do the oil, gas and coal industries get when they invest big bucks in a freshman Congressman?
They get the likes of Jim Bridenstine.
On the House floor Tuesday, the Oklahoma Republican freshman Congressman demanded that President Obama apologize to all Oklahomans for allocating federal funding to climate change research.
In his demand for a presidential apology, Bridenstine said that, “Here is what we absolutely know. We know that Oklahoma will have tornadoes when the cold jet stream meets the warm Gulf air, and we also know that this President spends 30 times as much money on global warming research as he does on weather forecasting and warning. For this gross misallocation, the people of Oklahoma are ready to accept the President’s apology and I intend to submit legislation to fix this.”
Now, it’s one thing if you genuinely believe that climate change and global warming aren’t real. Everyone is entitled to their personal beliefs.
But, it’s a whole other thing if you’re denouncing climate change because you’re being paid to do so, and in the case of Congressman Bridenstine, it appears to be the latter.
During the 2012 campaign cycle, Bridenstine received thousands from ExxonMobil, Latshaw Drilling, WPX energy, Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy and Koch Industries. All were in his top twenty donors.
So, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that Bridenstine is opposed to climate change research, because that would be bad for his owners…er…donors.
But Bridenstine isn’t alone.
Many of Washington’s top climate-change denying lawmakers are also getting thousands in campaign donations from the oil, gas and coal industries.
For example, there’s Congressman Lamar Smith, who is ironically a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.
During the 2012 election cycle, Smith received thousands from Valero Energy and Koch Industries, and his second largest career donor industry, just after retired rich people, is oil and gas at over a half-million dollars.
Then there’s Senator Tom Coburn, one of the Senate’s top climate-change deniers.
The Center for Responsive Politics says that during the 2012 election cycle, he received thousands from Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, and Chevron. And his top career donors include Anadarko Petroleum, Conoco Phillips, and Koch Industries.
Unlike Congressman Bridenstine, Congressman Smith and Senator Coburn haven’t officially asked President Obama to apologize for funding climate change research, but there’s still plenty of time for those demands to come.
In the meantime, I’m prepared to accept a few apologies of my own.
I’m prepared to accept an apology from big oil companies like ExxonMobil and Koch Industries that are actively buying off our politicians and funding phony science and misinformation campaigns.
I’m prepared to accept an apology from the barons of the fossil fuel industry for being some of the biggest players in the climate change denial nonsense in this country.
And I’m prepared to accept an apology from lawmakers like Congressmen Bridenstine and Smith, and Senator Coburn, who are taking thousands of dollars in donations in turn for turning a blind eye to the biggest threat our planet has ever faced.
And along with those apologies, these guys should have the common decency to wear the logos of the corporations that own them, the way NASCAR drivers do.
Today is #GivingTuesday — don’t miss your chance to give!
Millions of people are supporting nonprofits like Truthout for #GivingTuesday. Will you join them?
As an independent newsroom, Truthout relies on reader donations to remain online. Your tax-deductible donation of any amount — even a few bucks! — helps make it possible for us to publish award-winning journalism that amplifies the voices of changemakers everywhere.