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Legislators Calling To Lift Ban On Drilling Were Top Recipients of Oil Industry FundsSalem-New.com
Once again, following the money trail with MAPLIGHT.org.
(BERKELEY, Calif.) - Since the spill in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20th, seven bills have been introduced that call for a permanent ban on offshore drilling in specific areas and two call for a temporary ban in the Gulf. Other bills allow for more drilling but call for improved standards (i.e. double hull tankers). Three bills call for an end to the ban on offshore drilling.
An analysis by MAPLight.org, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization, found that legislators calling for the ban to be lifted were among the industry’s top recipients of oil industry funds from May 2008 through May 2010, according to data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics. Legislators introducing permanent bans on drilling have received relatively little money from the oil industry.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) went the furthest with bills (HR 5248, S 3433) that would permanently prohibit drilling on the entire Outer Continental Shelf, an area defined as the East and West coasts, the Gulf of Mexico and the coast of Alaska. (Sanders’ bill would also increase vehicle mileage standards.)
Of the two senators, Boxer has taken $13,000 over the last six years from oil interests, 81th out of the 100 senators, but more than Sanders’ $3,300, which places him 93th. None of the four Representatives above received more than $1,000 from oil interests in the past two years.
Representatives Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Pete Olson (R-Texas) have received $61,600 and $172,750 respectively, in the last two years from the oil industry. Olson’s total is third highest of the 435 House members, and Cassidy’s is 38th. In the Senate, David Vitter’s (R-La.) $559,386 over six years is the second highest total.
The three have brought nearly identical bills: (HR 5525, S 3489, HR 5519) calling for an end to the moratorium on offshore drilling (Cassidy’s also calls for the Secretary of the Interior to ensure the safety of all future drilling projects).
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Rep. Gerald Connoly (D-Va.) sponsored bills that address the process of granting offshore drilling permits.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) offered a four bills with an eye toward preventing future spills. One bill (S 685) requires oil tankers to have double hulls. Another (S 3492) would make oil companies build emergency relief wells, which would mitigate the effects of a potential spill. A third bill (S 3443) from Lautenberg -- and a provision in Connoly’s bill mentioned above -- would eliminate a rule requiring the Secretary of the Interior to accept or reject any proposed drilling projects within thirty days. His last bill (S 3343) would introduce a $10/acre fee on leased offshore land. The money would go toward a fund to help reduce U.S. dependence on oil.
MAPLight.org has received numerous awards including a Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism; a James Madison Freedom of Information Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter and a Webby nomination for best Politics website. To learn more, please visit: MAPLight.org.
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