House Republicans have chosen their reps to serve on the new Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, led by a member whose top career donor is a company that operates vessels that facilitate offshore oil drilling.
Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) will serve as the ranking member on the climate committee, which is tasked with recommending policies to respond to the increasing threats of catastrophic climate change. Graves has taken $515,634 from PACs and individuals affiliated with the oil and gas industry over the course of his congressional career, far more than he received from any other industry, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Graves received more money from oil and gas interests in the 2018 election than all but six current members of the 435-member of House of Representatives.
Graves has received $69,800 from employees of the Louisiana-based Edison Chouest Offshore, making the company his top career donor when considering donations from both individuals affiliated with companies and PACs, which are themselves funded by individuals. Edison Chouest operates a fleet of nearly 250 vessels that support offshore oil drilling operations in oilfields off the coast of Brazil and in the Gulf of Mexico. Its oil industry partners include ExxonMobil, Shell Oil, Petrobras, BP and Chevron.
According to its website, Edison Chouest’s anchor handling towing supply vessels are “capable of towing, mooring, and supplying massive offshore rigs.” Its multi-purpose supply vessels are “equipped to perform a variety of complex deepwater support operations, including subsea construction, installation, maintenance, repair, pipe laying, platform decommissioning and ROV support.” Edison Chouest also offers remotely operated vehicles that can be used for monitoring and inspecting subsea offshore systems.
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The Campaign Legal Center recently filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that Edison Chouest subsidiary Alpha Marine Services violated a restriction on campaign contributions from government contractors by contributing $100,000 to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican-aligned super PAC.
Graves has received large donations from other oil and gas interests including industrial and energy conglomerate Koch Industries ($28,000 from its PAC and $7,335 from individuals), gas pipeline giant Energy Transfer LP ($7,500 from its PAC and $18,450 from individuals), and petroleum refining, marketing, and transportation company Marathon Petroleum ($29,000 from its PAC).
Graves has a lifetime environmental score of 3% from the League of Conservation Voters.
By contrast, Kathy Castor, the Democratic chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, received $1 from oil and gas interests in the 2018 election cycle and has pledged to reject all campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies. After a Sludge report, Castor also divested as much as $100,000 from a mutual fund with holdings in fossil fuel-burning utility companies.