If you’ve looked at what’s going on in Congress and State Houses around the country lately, you’ve probably come to the same conclusion we have: our democracy is broken, thanks to the massive amounts of money being spent by fossil fuel companies and other industries to buy influence with our elected leaders.
For years we’ve been fighting this dirty energy money in the halls of the US Congress and that fight continues. Now, we’re excited to introduce you to a new tool designed to help all of us hold our leaders at the state level accountable as well.
Our new website tracks campaign contributions given to state-level elected officials, shining a light into the dark corners of state politics and the millions being spent by Big Oil, Gas, and Coal to buy off our politicians. Right now we cover 7 key energy battleground states, and we hope to expand to new states soon.
What we've found with this new tool is not just troubling, but downright scary. Here are 5 of the top facts we've pulled out so far:
- Doubling Down on Fracking: Between 2006 and 2012 oil and gas industry contributions to Pennsylvania’s elected officials more than DOUBLED. At the same time, Pennsylvania’s natural gas boom -- greased by industry money -- took off with widespread fracking across the Marcellus Shale.
- The Million Dollar Club: Joe Straus, the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, has taken more than a MILLION dollars from fossil fuel interests since 2008. This is on top of the additional 10 million the industry spread out across the rest of the state. They don’t call it Oil Country for nothing.
- Exploiting New Communities: In Colorado, Oil and gas industry contributions increased by more than 22% between 2006 and 2012. During that same period gas production increased by more than 36%. The industry got exactly what they wanted: a new state to frack.
- Buying Votes: ￼In 2013 the California State Assembly took up a bill that would place a moratorium on fracking in the state, but it was voted down. On average, each individual voting against the moratorium accepted 10x more dirty money than those voting in favor. Talk about skewed!
- Drowning in Corporate Cash: All in all, more than $25 million has been given to state-level politicians since 2006 in just 7 states. It’s no wonder oil and gas companies seem to have free reign across the country right now.
But we didn’t build this tool just to entertain ourselves with statistics; we built it for people like you, who are ready to fight back against the corporate interests destroying our democracy and our planet. So, if you're as fed up with big oil buying off politicians as we are, take a look at our new tool, share it, and help us shine a light on this political corruption.
(If you aren't in one of the 7 states, you can still check out our national dirty energy money database that tracks all federal representatives.)
And here’s an idea -- if you discover something interesting type it up and share it far and wide. If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, use the hashtag #DirtyEnergyMoney and we’ll help you spread the word.
Time to bring the noise,
PS - Do you like this tool and want us to bring it to your state? Donate now to help us expand its reach!
Oil Change International campaigns to expose the true costs of fossil fuels and facilitate the coming transition towards clean energy. We are dedicated to identifying and overcoming barriers to that transition.
We are a 501c3 organization and all donations are fully tax deductible.