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Big Oil's Political Blitz

J. Mijin Cha


News came out last week that fossil fuel interests have spent over $153 million in television ads attacking the President’s clean energy agenda, including criticizing new air pollution rules and the delay of the Keystone XL pipeline. This figure is likely to grow, as there is still two months before the election. And, this is in addition to the $13 million the fossil fuel industry gave to the Republican National Committee and associated PACs, $950,000 to the Democratic National Committee, and $70 million spent in lobbying.

While the amount of money spent seems to indicate the industry is under attack and is going on the defensive, nothing could be further from the truth. Domestic oil production is at its highest level in decades, the Obama Administration has made its commitment to natural gas development well-known, as well as its commitment to and investment in “clean coal”, even though fracking is extremely hazardous and there seems to be little progress towards making clean coal a reality. Not to mention that both parties seem to be allergic to even acknowledging climate change, let alone putting forth the policies we need to stave off the most damaging impacts.

As an added industry support, Congress--particularly the House--is doing all that it can to stop clean energy advancement, most recently by passing the ridiculous, “No More Solyndras Act” continuing the House GOP’s obsession with Solyndra, even though the DoE loan program is one of the most successful. Plus, given that Congress refuses to renew support for the renewable industry, it’s not surprising that some of these businesses are not succeeding because there is no stable market outlook and industry support.