With Earth Week upon us, government watchdog Accountable.US is taking an opportunity to remind the public that the American Petroleum Institute (API) has donated millions of dollars to anti-science politicians, while claiming to be champions of the environment. For example, API spent millions in campaign-style advertising and shelled out over one million dollars to anti-climate candidates in 2016 alone. 

“Over the years, API has showered members of Congress with millions of dollars in campaign cash — lawmakers who time and time again have opposed any meaningful action on climate,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “API now says it wants to work with the Biden administration to address the climate crisis, but where the group spends its money tells a different story entirely. Empty rhetoric can’t hide decades of denying the climate crisis and lining the pockets of politicians who undermine commonsense climate policies.” 

API Spent More Than $1.3 Million In Contributions To Candidates In 2016 Compared To Contributions In The Hundreds Of Thousands Dollars In 2012 And 2020 

API Supported A Platform That Rejected Action To Address The Climate Crisis  

API Donated $1.38 Million To Republicans In 2016. [API – Contributions, OpenSecrets.org, accessed 02/19/21

  • API Gave $1,055,091 To The Cleveland 2016 Host Committee In 2016. API Also gave $19,600 To The National Republican Congressional Committee, $15,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and thousands more to individual candidates. [Open Secrets, accessed 04/21/21
  • The 2016 Republican Platform Rejected Efforts To Address The Climate Crisis And Referred To Environmentalists As “a self-serving elite.” “The Republican Party platform adopted Monday night would bring a total about-face on U.S. energy and climate policy, declaring that the priority placed on combating climate change under President Obama ‘the triumph of extremism over common sense, and Congress must stop it.’ The GOP platform calls coal ‘clean,’ pledges to reverse a Supreme Court ruling on the scope of the Clean Air Act, seeks to open vast amounts of federally protected public lands and waters to oil, gas and coal exploitation, rejects the Paris climate accord and Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and opposes a carbon tax. It takes aim at ‘environmental extremists’ and calls the environmental movement ‘a self-serving elite.’” [Washington Post, 07/19/16]

In Contrast, API Donated $323,550 In 2012 And $158,000 In 2020 To Democratic Candidates And Committees. [API – Contributions, OpenSecrets.org, accessed 02/19/21

API Involved Itself In The 2020 Election By Spending Big Money On Issue Advertising 

  • API Spent Seven Figures To Push Oil Industry Talking Points To Americans. “”We know that a lot of candidates are talking about this industry and we want to make sure Americans hear our story,’ said Mike Sommers, head of the American Petroleum Institute industry group who launched the campaign. The API said the campaign sought to highlight ‘the leadership of the natural gas and oil industry in reducing emissions to record lows’ and creating ‘common ground in the energy debate in 2020 and beyond.’ He said the campaign costs in 2020 were ‘seven figures,’ but did not deliver an exact amount.” [Reuters, 01/07/20
    • Sommers Encouraged Consumers To Think About The Effect Of A Fracking Ban When They Vote. “I don’t think any consumer wants that and they should keep that in mind as they go into the voting booth.” [YouTube, First Coast News, 01/08/20


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