DATE: November 17, 2020
SNIP: Following a campaign promising bold climate action, president-elect Joe Biden’s transition team named one of the Democratic Party’s top recipients of fossil fuel industry money to a high-profile White House position focusing in part on climate issues.
On Tuesday, Politico reported that Biden is appointing US Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) to lead the White House Office of Public Engagement, where he is “expected to serve as a liaison with the business community and climate change activists.”
During his ten years in Congress, Richmond has received roughly $341,000 from donors in the oil and gas industry — the fifth-highest total among House Democrats, according to previous reporting by Sludge. That includes corporate political action committee donations of $50,000 from Entergy, an electric and natural gas utility; $40,000 from ExxonMobil; and $10,000 apiece from oil companies Chevron, Phillips 66, and Valero Energy.
Richmond has raked in that money while representing a congressional district that is home to seven of the ten most air-polluted census tracts in the country.
Richmond has repeatedly broken with his party on major climate and environmental votes. During the climate crisis that has battered his home state of Louisiana, Richmond has joined with Republicans to vote to increase fossil fuel exports and promote pipeline development. He also voted against Democratic legislation to place pollution limits on fracking — and he voted for GOP legislation to limit the Obama administration’s authority to more stringently regulate the practice.
Biden is reportedly considering former Obama energy secretary Ernest Moniz for a cabinet spot or for a new international climate envoy post, according to the New York Times. Climate groups have called on Biden to reject Moniz for any position because he joined the board of directors at the electric utility Southern Company after his time in the Obama administration. Moniz has also been a fracking advocate.