Beware of Oil Slicks on the Road to the Lincoln Bedroom
Vice Pres. Al Gore doesn’t like to talk up his family’s close ties to Occidental Petroleum, a company that has raised the ire of enviros — most recently by attempting to drill for oil on the ancestral lands of the U’wa Indian tribe in Colombia. Gore inherited more than $500,000 in Occidental stock from his father, who had close ties to the company throughout his own congressional career and got a cushy job in one of its subsidiaries after he left the Senate. Since 1992, Occidental has given more than $470,000 in soft money to various Democratic committees and causes, and $35,550 to Gore’s own campaigns, according to a new book from the Center for Public Integrity. In 1997, thanks at least in part to recommendations Gore made as part of his “reinventing government” crusade, the Department of Energy sold to Occidental 47,000 oil-rich acres of federal land in California that had been off-limits to commercial development since 1912. This week in New Hampshire, enviros plan to follow Gore around with placards demanding that he take a stand on the U’wa tribe’s plight.