Given that climate legislation will touch every sector of the economy — and ultimately generate hundreds of billions of dollars from the sale of emissions allowances — it is no surprise that everyone is bringing on hired guns.

But Washington, D.C. is turning into the Wild West, into Deadwood, as an important new Center for Public Integrity analysis (see here) of Senate lobbying disclosure forms makes clear:

More than 770 companies and interest groups hired an estimated 2,340 lobbyists to influence federal policy on climate change in the past year, as the issue gathered momentum and came to a vote on Capitol Hill. That’s an increase of more than 300 percent in the number of lobbyists on climate change in just five years, and means that Washington can now boast more than four climate lobbyists for every member of Congress. It also means that 15 percent of all Washington lobbyists spent at least some of their time on global warming in 2008.

The Center for Public Integrity has a great chart that breaks down the lobbyists by sector (see here).

And many of these 2,340 lobbyists are quite senior and influential:

The ranks of the lobbyists include a who’s who of ex-members of Congress, from former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, a Missouri Democrat, to former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Livingston, a Louisiana Republican. Among the former Capitol Hill staffers who are engaged on global warming are Drew Maloney, former top aide to then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, and Andrew Athy, a former counsel to Representative John Dingell, who later chaired the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Numbered among the executive branch veterans now in the climate fray are Jack Quinn, White House lawyer to President Clinton, and Wayne Berman, assistant commerce secretary under President George H.W. Bush.

I guess it’s true what they say: If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog lobbyist.

For the full Center for Public Integrity analysis and discussion, by staff writer Marianne Lavelle, go here. For a shorter version, read the Politico article here.

This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.