DATE: September 24, 2019
SNIP: As the United States Senate fails to act on catastrophic climate change, dozens of its members are profiting from investments in oil, gas, and coal companies that are fueling the crisis.
Twenty-nine U.S. senators and their spouses own between $3.5 million and $13.9 million worth of stock in companies that extract, transport, or burn fossil fuels, or provide services to fossil fuel companies, according to a Sludge analysis of personal financial filings as of Aug. 16. The senators are invested in 86 fossil fuel companies, including well-known giants like ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, but also a range of lesser known companies that specialize in pipeline operations, natural gas exports, and oilfield services.
Top Dems on Energy and Environment Committees Are Big Stock Owners
The largest fossil fuel investment among all senators belongs to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who is in line to chair the committee if Democrats take control of the Senate in 2020. The committee’s legislative jurisdiction covers energy resources and development, nuclear energy, federal coal, oil, and gas, other mineral leasing, and other issues.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, which handles air pollution, environmental policy, and water pollution, has up to $310,000 invested in more than a dozen oil, gas, and utility companies, as well as mutual funds with holdings in the fossil fuel industry.
Oil giant ExxonMobil, the largest oil and gas company in the U.S. by revenue, exerts massive lobbying pressure in Washington D.C. to further its policy goals. The company spent more than $11 million on expenses related to lobbying the federal government in 2018, and its PAC and employees made $2.3 million in federal campaign contributions in the 2018 election cycle.
Eleven members of the Senate—Sens. King (I-Maine), Cassidy (R-La.), Perdue (R-Ga.), Moran (R-Kan.), Kennedy (R-La.), Roberts (R-Kan.), Scott (R-Fla.), Wyden (D-Ore.), Capito (R-W.V.), Collins (R-Maine), and Cruz (R-Texas)—have as much as $856,000 invested in ExxonMobil stock. No fossil fuel stock is owned by a greater number of senators.