50 Senators side with Big Oil (and its campaign cash)

U.S. Senators that voted in favor of an amendment that would significantly weaken the Clean Air Act received more than four times more campaign cash from oil and gas interests, on average, than those who voted against the amendment, according to Public Campaign Action Fund analysis of data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics. The amendment failed on a 50-50 vote (60 was needed for passage), with all but one Republican and four Democrats voting “yea.”

Supporters of the amendment received, on average, $441,235 from oil and gas interests during their time in Congress while those opposed received, on average, $101,188.

The amendment, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), would limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. It was supported by the American Petroleum Institute, a front group for major oil companies.

As the American Public Health Association said in a statement opposing the amendment:

“Climate–related health risks such as extreme weather events, increases in air pollutants linked to asthma and other respiratory diseases, and changes in vector-borne disease threaten us all,” said Benjamin. “But the elderly, sick and other vulnerable populations are at greatest risk. Upholding the Clean Air Act and the sensible protections that safeguard Americans and their families is critical. Congress must reject efforts that would do otherwise.”

The top 10 recipients of oil and gas industry cash all voted in favor of the amendment:

Senator

Total (Oil & Gas)

McCain, John (R-AZ)

$2,713,824

Hutchison, Kay Bailey (R-TX)

$2,141,025

Cornyn, John (R-TX)

$1,715,050

Inhofe, James M (R-OK)

$1,253,323

Vitter, David (R-LA)

$892,185

McConnell, Mitch (R-KY)

$879,111

Landrieu, Mary L (D-LA)

$784,344

Blunt, Roy (R-MO)

$693,998

Thune, John (R-SD)

$615,462

The House is expected to take up a similar measure soon.