Oil money fuels push for Arctic drilling

Find out how much money your members of Congress receive from the oil industry.


Today we learned that some U.S. Senators are pushing a plan aimed at slipping oil rigs into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge through a back door. The deal would change the federal budget so that it counts on the income generated from drilling in the refuge – despite the fact that Congress has repeatedly voted against sinking oil wells there.

Most Americans don’t want oil rigs in the arctic,1 and the payback wouldn’t even amount to 1/20th of our oil demand.2 So why are some lawmakers so obsessed with letting oil companies into the wildlife refuge?

Here’s one potential answer: Senators on the budget committee have taken a total of $4 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry. One of the senators pushing hardest for the drilling plan, Pete Domenici (R-NM),3 has collected more than anyone else on the committee.

Our friends at the Separation of Oil & State campaign have made it easy to find out how much oil money your Congressional representatives have taken. Even more importantly, they’ve launched a campaign to put an end to it, by insisting that the people who represent us stop taking this money.


We can fight these bad ideas each time they come up, and we will - but we also need to get at the core of the problem by working to get this oil money out of our government.

Clean energy advocates and activists have noted for decades that the barriers to a clean energy transition are political, not technical. The profits of the oil companies have increased just as the price of gas for all of us has gone up. But what’s good for Exxon, Chevron, and others is not necessarily good for the rest of us. It’s time to ensure that our representatives represent us, not the oil companies.

Find out how much oil money YOUR Representatives take, then sign on to Separation of Oil & State’s campaign to put a stop to it.


Separation of Oil & State is a campaign to get oil money out of politics. It’s important that we demand that our representatives stand up for the future of energy, not for the dinosaurs of the oil industry. Hybrid cars, biodiesel, energy efficiency, and wind power are economically viable technologies today - and yet our politicians continue to use our tax money to subsidize and support Big Oil to the tune of billions of dollars every year. The first step in ending our collective addiction to oil is reducing oil's influence over our politicians and demanding political independence from Big Oil.

In the meantime, we'll track the Arctic drilling plan and be back in touch with opportunities to put a stop to it.


Matt Holland

1 Poll Finds Strong Majority Opposes Drilling in Arctic Wildlife Refuge; Bipartisan Survey Also Reveals Overwhelming Opposition to Backdoor Budget Maneuvers.


2 " Some facts about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." Associated Press.

3 " Senate Panel Drops Spending Cuts." Washington Post, March 7, 2006.

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Informant: Martin Greenhut


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