Don’t Buy Fossil Fuel Industry’s Spin on Biden’s Oil & Gas Leasing Pause

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, oil and gas executives are expected to testify before a U.S. Senate committee and criticize the Biden administration’s temporary pause on new oil and gas leases on public lands. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, released the following statement:

“After four years of the Trump administration’s nonstop fossil fuel giveaways, the Biden administration is engaged in a much-needed effort to fix a broken system that allows oil companies to short-change taxpayers by leasing public lands and offshore waters for drilling at bargain rates.

“While the oil and gas industry peddles false claims about the economic impact of Biden’s energy policies, the reality is that the oil and gas industry has stockpiled enough leases and permits to continue drilling on public lands for years. Congress should ignore the industry’s many exaggerations and wild doom and gloom rhetoric about lost jobs.

“For too long, corporate polluters like Occidental Petroleum and their representatives, such as the Western Energy Alliance, have ruled Washington. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill must stay strong and end the stream of corporate favors and giveaways to an industry that shows almost no sign of moving away from its head-in-the-sand attitude about the escalating disaster of the climate crisis. With the climate crisis rapidly mounting, oil and gas executives and their lobbyists are the last people anyone should be listening to.”

Note: According to an analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics, Occidental Petroleum’s political action committee donated $1.6 million (or 90 percent of its political contributions) to Republicans since 2010 and $181,500, or 10 percent, to Democrats. Occidental board member Carl Icahn is a personal friend and ally of former President Donald Trump. During the same time frame, the Western Energy Alliance donated $718,090, or 93 percent of its political contributions to Republicans and only 7 percent to Democrats.

Occidental Petroleum PAC
Year To Democrats To Republicans Sum %Dem %GOP
2010 $68,000 $260,100 $328,100 21% 79%
2012 $40,500 $349,500 $390,000 10% 90%
2014 $20,500 $369,000 $389,500 5% 95%
2016 $12,000 $275,250 $287,250 4% 96%
2018 $14,000 $219,250 $233,250 6% 94%
2020 $26,500 $168,800 $195,300 14% 86%
Total $181,500 $1,641,900 $1,823,400 10% 90%
 
Western Energy Alliance PAC
To Democrats To Republicans Sum %Dem %GOP
2010 $11,245 $55,092 $66,337 17% 83%
2012 $4,500 $97,498 $101,998 4% 96%
2014 $11,000 $195,600 $206,600 5% 95%
2016 $3,500 $136,000 $139,500 3% 98%
2018 $12,000 $108,000 $120,000 10% 90%
2020 $10,500 $125,900 $136,400 8% 92%
Total $52,745 $718,090 $770,835 7% 93%