SOURCE: The Real News
DATE: October 5, 2020
SNIP: House Democrats passed legislation to boost the fortunes of the oil industry as one of their last acts before going to recess until after Election Day. The bill passed as funeral ceremonies were held in Washington for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Only 18 Democrats opposed HR 4447, called the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act, in the Sept. 24 220-185 vote, including “The Squad”—Reps. Alexandria Ocacsio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar. The bill is unlikely to pass in the Senate in its current form and the White House has pledged to veto it.
Buried within the House climate bill is a provision that was once a standalone bill called the Fossil Energy Research and Development Act (HR 3607), which extends $1.64 billion in subsidies to the Energy Department to “maintain robust investments in carbon capture technologies for coal and natural gas applications” and oversee the creation of three natural gas or coal power plant pilot facilities for carbon capture. The bill further extends $722 million to the Energy Department to “carry out large-scale carbon sequestration demonstrations for geologic containment of carbon dioxide” in utilizing the captured CO2 for a drilling process called enhanced oil recovery (CO2 EOR). That’s over $2.3 billion in industry subsidies.
HR 3607 had lobbying support from electricity utility company Ameren, the Coal Utilization Research Council, and Arch Coal. It also received labor union lobbying support from the Utility Workers Union of America and the Blue-Green Alliance, a coalition whose green group members include Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, and the Environmental Defense Fund. Its union members include the Utility Workers Union of America and the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters. The Coal Utilization Research Council is also a mixed membership group consisting of both coal companies and labor unions.
One of the most important nodes of influence for the bill, though, came from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). According to disclosure filings, LCV did not lobby for HR 3607. But a member of the Board of Directors of the group’s lobbying arm, the League of Conservation Education Fund, former general partner and managing director of Goldman Sachs and Biden donor Larry Linden, did lobby for it through a group he registered in 2019 called LTC Action. Linden has given $410,000 so far to the LCV’s political action so far during the current two-year election cycle, according to the federal election filings. He gave $250,000 during the previous election cycle.