House Science Committee Democrats have hired a lobbyist for an oil and gas industry front group as a professional staff member for their Subcommittee on Environment.
Kristi Parrott, the subcommittee’s new staff member, comes from HBW Resources, where she was federal affairs director. HBW Resources is a PR, communications, and lobbying firm that specializes in representing clients in the energy industry.
The firm appears to operate Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), an oil and gas company-funded nonprofit that fashions itself as a consumer group and describes its mission as “expand[ing] the dialogue between the energy & consuming sectors to improve overall understanding of the need for a balanced energy policy for America.” CEA’s members include oil companies like Chevron, Shell, and Occidental Petroleum, as well as trade groups like the U.S. Oil & Gas Association and the American Petroleum Institute. Chevron discloses paying the group up to $49,999 annually, Phillips 66 disclosed a payment of $80,000 in 2019, and utility company Dominion Energy disclosed paying the organization $88,000 in 2018.
CEA lists HBW Resources’ Houston, Texas office address on its tax filings, and it pays HBW Resources millions of dollars annually as an independent contractor. CEA does not list any staff on its tax forms, and many of the staff listed on its website are affiliated with HBW Resources. CEA President David Holt is a HBW Resources managing partner, for example, and HBW’s other partner, Andrew Browning, is CEA’s chief operating officer.
For CEA, Parrott lobbied Congress and the Department of the Interior in the first quarter of this year on “Support for the responsible development of oil and gas resources,” and in 2020 on “Support policies and regulations allowing for continued and expanded development of onshore and offshore oil and gas.” Parrott’s other recent lobbying clients have included mining companies Nevada Vanadium and Ocean Minerals LLC, and electric power storage and transmission company Anbaric Development Partners.
CEA recently ran Facebook ads asking people to sign a petition that calls on Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to open the Gulf of Mexico for oil leasing in response to high gas prices.
The House Science Subcommittee on the Environment is chaired by Democratic Rep. Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey. Its jurisdiction includes “All matters relating to environmental research; Environmental Protection Agency research and development; environmental standards; climate change research and development; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including all activities related to weather, weather services, climate, the atmosphere, marine fisheries, and oceanic research; risk assessment activities; scientific issues related to environmental policy, including climate change.”