Just 10 House members received a combined $13 million in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry over the course of their careers, according to a Thursday report from left-leaning advocacy group Public Citizen.
The industry rallied behind Republicans’ Lower Energy Costs Act, a bill to expand fossil fuel drilling and exports that passed the House on Thursday with the support of four Democrats and all but one Republican.
Each of the top 10 recipients of oil and gas donations — nine Republicans and one Democrat — voted for the bill. The list includes Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who has received $1.3 million in industry campaign donations, the third-most of any House member.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) brought in the most campaign cash from oil and gas interests with $2.8 million, according to the report, which cited nonpartisan research group OpenSecrets. Chevron and Occidental Petroleum are McCarthy’s top oil and gas industry backers.
House Majority Steve Scalise (R-La.) received $2.1 million from oil and gas interests over his career, the second-most of any House member, the report found.
The top 50 House recipients of oil and gas donations received nearly $28 million, including $8.3 million in the 2022 election cycle alone, according to the report. Of that sum, $24.2 million went to Republicans.
The American Petroleum Institute and other groups lobbying on behalf of oil companies worked closely with lawmakers in drafting the Lower Energy Costs Act. The bill would ease the permitting process for companies extracting oil or mining critical minerals, a top priority for corporate America.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Thursday that the bill “advances important policies to reform America’s broken permitting process, enhance energy security, protect energy exports and critical infrastructure, and increases production and processing of critical minerals.”
The bill is opposed by environmental advocates who say it will prolong the world’s reliance on fossil fuels and hinder the fight against climate change. Clean energy groups say Congress must pass a bipartisan bill to specifically speed up the permitting process for renewable energy projects.
“The fossil fuel industry is already raking in record profits at the expense of consumers and future generations, yet their supporters in Congress wish to lock us into increased extraction, volatile energy prices, and environmental degradation in exchange for even higher profits for oil and gas companies,” Public Citizen wrote in its report.