Just a few months after losing her seat in the U.S. Senate, Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu announced she’s joining the powerhouse lobbying firm Van Ness Feldman as a “senior policy adviser,” focusing specifically on energy policy issues. That title will allow Landrieu to get around the law that bars former members of Congress from lobbying their old colleagues for two years.
Landrieu, the former chair of the Senate’s powerful Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will now be advising for a firm that represents powerful oil, gas, coal and other energy corporations, including some of the same ones that her state is currently trying to hold accountable for destroying the wetlands that used to protect the coastline from storms.
As The Intercept notes, one of Van Ness Feldman’s clients is TransCanada, the company that has been fighting for the Obama Administration’s approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Landrieu has long been a supporter of the pipeline, and even tried, unsuccessfully, to force congressional approval of the project before the State Department completed its review. While in the Senate, she also aided fossil fuel companies by repeatedly fighting federal attempts to address air pollution and climate change.
In her new position, Landrieu may also have an opportunity to continue her push for building more ports for the US to export fracked natural gas to other countries. Van Ness Feldman represents several corporations who would benefit from this policy shift, including Maryland’s Dominion Cove — a planned export facility that has drawn strong opposition from the local community. Another client, Kinder Morgan, is attempting to build a network of pipelines across the northeast U.S. against the wishes of landowners who would be impacted.
Building more export facilities and sending natural gas overseas would also create more demand in the U.S., likely leading to more drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Several communities in Landrieu’s home state are already fighting to protect their land and water from the interests of natural gas companies eager to frack.