Photo via Frot
Guess it pays to be the biggest oil company in the world--even though their profits are at the lowest they've been in six years, Exxon still managed to spend more money on lobbying efforts for the climate bill than the entire clean energy industry combined. Even with their gargantuan effort, the oil company still felt slighted in the version of the climate bill that passed the House last month (coal and agriculture got far more free permits to pollute than the oil company). Perhaps they at least got a consolation prize? Maybe an "I Spent $15 Million on Lobbying and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt" tee, or something?
Because that's how much the oil giant shelled out--$14.9 million over the last six months. As Bloomberg points out, that's a solid 23% more than the $12.1 million clean energy companies spent all told. Altogether, oil and gas companies spent $82.2 million on Washington lobbyists, dwarfing the wind, solar, and biofuel companies that nonetheless spent more than ever before. From Bloomberg:
Clean-energy companies spent $21.8 million on lobbying in 2008, five times as much as in 2006, New Energy Finance said. Wind power developers account for more than one fifth of the total.It should be noted as well that not all of Exxon's (and other oil companies') spending on lobbyists was strictly to obtain more lenient emissions standards for their oil operations (though I haven't seen the breakdown, and assume that most of it was):
Petroleum producers and clean-energy companies don't necessarily lobby on opposite sides of issues. Oil companies are investing in biofuels to meet alternative-energy mandates. Earlier this month, Exxon said it would seek to create a "new source of oil" in a $600 million project to make gasoline from algae. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, based in the Netherlands, second to Exxon Mobil in global refining capacity, announced plans in December for an algae project in Hawaii.However, we can certainly expect high spending from the oil industry as the Senate resumes crafting its climate bill this September--and it's a pretty sure bet they'll be upping their efforts to secure more free pollution permits this go-round.