2,340 Lobbyists Have An Opinion On How Best To Enact Climate Policy

If President Obama ever needs some advice on how to implement sweeping energy reforms, he should have no problems finding it in Washington. Politico digs through a centre for Public Integrity analysis and reports that 2009’s energy plans will have 2,340 lobbyists trying to shape the agenda on behalf of 770 different companies.

Here’s the run down of the story in handy bullet form:

  • It’s a 300% increase from 2003 when Washington last voted on climate change.
  • There are now 4 climate lobbyists for each member of Congress.
  • 15 per cent of all Washington lobbyists spent at least some of their time on global warming last year.
  • Lobbying expenditures on climate change last year topped $90 million.
  • 130 businesses and interest groups spent more than $23.5 million on lobbying teams solely focused on climate, but that vastly understates the money devoted to the effort.
  • More than 95 per cent of climate lobbyists work on other issues for their clients as well, and they don’t have to report how much they’re being paid on global warming specifically. But even if just 10 per cent of their time last year was spent on climate issues, that would add nearly $70 million to the grand total spent lobbying on climate in 2008.
  • Climate lobbyists include a who’s who of ex-members of Congress: Former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) Former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Livingston (R-La.) Drew Maloney, former top aide to then-House Majority Whip Tom Delay (R-Texas) Andrew Athy, a former counsel to Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), who later chaired the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Jack Quinn, White House counsel to President Bill Clinton.
  • Former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.)
  • Former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Livingston (R-La.)
  • Drew Maloney, former top aide to then-House Majority Whip Tom Delay (R-Texas)
  • Andrew Athy, a former counsel to Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), who later chaired the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
  • Jack Quinn, White House counsel to President Bill Clinton.
  • Wayne Berman, assistant commerce secretary under President George H.W. Bush. 
  • In 2003, 70% of lobbyists were from electricity, coal and oil firms and the heavy industries like auto, cement and steel that would be most directly affected by curbing fossil fuel use. Now it’s just about every part of the economy.
  • In 2003, there were fewer than five alternative energy industry lobbyists registered specifically on climate. By 2008, there were more than 130.
  • Firms like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have just as many with 130 climate lobbyists.
  • Cities, counties and municipal agencies have more than 100 lobbyists either following climate developments on Capitol Hill or seeking to shape the formulas lawmakers will use for doling out money.

The good news for Greenies: This means a ton of people will keep attention on energy issues for the next year.

The bad news for  Greenies: Last year’s climate bill only got the support of 48 Senators. In the election only three more climate advocates were elected, which means the Senate is still way far away from the filibuster proof 60 votes. This leaves plenty of room for influence.

(Front image from Unite For Mike)

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