When the House of Representatives voted on a transportation bill, H.R. 3408, that expands oil drilling into long-protected areas and forces construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, Republican lawmakers proved their complete allegiance is to Big Oil. Although Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner have parroted the myth that the pipeline would “lower gas prices” and “reduce our dependence on hostile, unstable sources of energy,” their actions show that helping American families is only an empty promise.
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) offered an amendment to the bill during the Feb. 15 vote, giving the House a chance to “ensure that if the Keystone XL pipeline is built, the oil that it transports to the Gulf of Mexico and the fuels made from that oil remain in this country to benefit Americans.” But the amendment failed 173-254.
Not surprisingly, the 254 members who voted against the amendment have collected seven times more total campaign cash from oil and gas interests. The 254 members (230 Republicans) took in $37.3 million in career campaign contributions from oil and gas companies and executives.
On average, each member who voted against banning exports collected $146,808 from the oil and gas industry. This is contrasted with the $5.2 million total for the 173 in favor (9 Republicans) of the export ban – or an average of $29,951. In other words, legislators who want to export refined gasoline and diesel from oil sands received five times more oil money than the legislators who want to keep these fuels here.
|254 votes to reject amendment (230 Republicans)||173 votes for amendment
|Total oil & gas money in career contributions||$37,289,233||$146,808|
|Average oil & gas money per vote||$5,181,599||$29,951|
The vote shows that House Republicans will not even support their own spin about the supposed benefits of increasing U.S. oil and gasoline supplies from the Keystone XL pipeline. In fact, the pipeline does nothing to impact production and Time magazine concurred that “Keystone would have little immediate [price] effect, especially since there’s already sufficient pipeline infrastructure in place for the next few years.” At best, gasoline prices in the Gulf Coast region would be only one and three-quarter cents lower per gallon, while prices would increase in the Midwest because the current oil glut keeps prices there lower.
Although the evidence shows the pipeline won’t help Americans, Republicans continue to fight to boost Big Oil’s profits at the same time the industry raked in record-breaking profits of $137 billion in 2011.