A report in Public Citizen highlights a new development early in the Biden administration. According to the report, “Big Oil” is funding lawmakers who are opposed to Biden’s pause on new drilling. Here is an excerpt from the report:
A new Public Citizen report finds that twenty-nine U.S. House lawmakers who oppose President Joe Biden’s order to pause new oil leasing on federal lands and offshore waters have received a combined $13.4 million over their careers from fossil fuel interests and $23.6 million from energy and natural resources interests.
“After four years of the Trump administration ransacking our public lands, ignoring and exacerbating the climate crisis, and accelerating the loss of nature and biodiversity, Americans have learned all too well that the oil and gas industry has far too much influence in Washington,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “The Biden administration must ignore the fossil fuel industry’s complaints and scaremongering and support our clean energy future by working to get America off dirty fuels as soon as possible.”
These members, all of whom are Republicans, are part of the Congressional Western Caucus, chaired by Rep Dan Newhouse (R-WA), who issued a joint statement in late January denouncing the Biden administration’s pause on new oil and gas leases. Many of these lawmakers have touted a misleading study promoted by the Western Energy Alliance that circulates an exaggerated estimate of the labor market impact on western states resulting from the leasing pause.