Cleantech execs learn to lobby
Dirty energy lobbyists long ago mastered the art of lobbying on Capitol Hill, as evidenced by their copious government subsidies. Now clean energy companies are playing catch-up. Jim Snyder at The Hill reports on executives flying in to Washington to learn about the happy ways of our capital:
The executives mostly represent clean-energy companies and hail from states from Alaska to Florida. Some companies, like Dow Chemical and Florida Power & Light, are well-known and active in Washington. Mostly, though, the executives come from smaller companies like Biomass Gas & Electric in Florida, Midwest Sustainable Energy Contractors in Illinois, Carbon Green in Michigan, and Algae-Aquaculture Technologies in Montana, according to a draft list of participants
They’ll be briefed on lobbying and media strategy, meeting with Republican pollster Frank Luntz, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and, of course, a former House member who is now a lobbyist, James Walsh.
I suppose this should be encouraging news—the sooner these growing industries build their clout in Washington, the better. Clean energy attracts more new private-sector funding than dirty energy does, but members of Congress don’t give the sector its due. Instead, they spend their weekends frolicking in South Beach with oil industry reps.
Oh, and here’s what the clean energy companies are up against, from Greenwire ($ub req’d.):
Oil and gas companies spent at least $154 million on lobbying last year, potentially besting a field of rivals battling to shape climate and energy policies and setting a new record for the industry.
Influence efforts by the oil and gas sector grew at least 16 percent in 2009 from the $132 million spent in 2008, according to an early analysis of new lobbying disclosures by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The total reflects spending for the first nine months of 2009 plus 80 percent of reports filed for the past three months.
The electric utility industry, meanwhile, spent at least $134.7 million on lobbying last year. Combined, the two traditional energy sectors paid out nearly 10 times the $29 million that alternative energy companies allocated for lobbying efforts.