Big Oil’s Bond: Senator’s Sneak Attack on Clean Air Act

Missouri has no oil reserves & just 1.2% of US coal reserves. Meanwhile, it’s a leader in clean energy, with a renewable portfolio standard requiring investor-owned utilities to increase their use of renewable sources to 15% by 2021.

So why would one of its senators lead a surprise, late night attack on the Clean Air Act?

Sen. Kit Bond was unsuccessful last night in his unexpected bid to get unanimous consent to undercut U.S. EPA’s climate regulations. The Missouri Republican made the pitch for quick passage of the two-year regulation-delaying bill during a rare live quorum call on the floor, but Majority Whip Dick Durbin objected. Bond then backed down but not before pleading with Harry Reid to follow through on his pledge to allow a vote on the Rockefeller-authored bill before the end of the year.

Sen. Bond is retiring this year, but one look at his last re-election campaign in 2004 makes clear where his allegiances lie:

  • The coal mining industry made Sen. Bond its #1 member in all of Congress in 2004, giving his campaign $62,209. Over his career, coal has given Bond $107,109.
  • Sen. Bond ranked 5th in the Senate for oil & gas industry contributions in 2004, raking in $122,150. Over his career, Bond has received $446,010 from the oil & gas industry.
  • Sen. Bond got $134,843 from electric utilities in 2004, ranking him 5th in the Senate. Electric utilities have poured $310,165 into Sen. Bond’s campaign coffers over his career.

So what have all these polluters gotten for their money? On the 2006 legislative scorecard of Republicans for Environmental Protection, Sen. Bond managed to score -2. That’s right, he had a negative score. His score tied Sen. Bond with such enemies of the environment as Senators Larry Craig, Jim Inhofe & Ted Stevens.

How did Sen. Bond manage to do worse than nothing? According to the scorecard, “Scores can exceed 100 or fall below 0 because we also assigned positive or negative credit for significant non-voting actions that demonstrated either positive or negative leadership on critical environmental issues.”  Sen. Bond didn’t do much better on the 2008 scorecard, with a score of 21 that barely beat Sen. Inhofe’s 10.

With polluters pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into lobbying & political contributions this year, Big Oil & King Coal are hoping to keep Sen. Bond’s anti-clean air spirit alive well into the next Congress.

Photo via Flickr’s TheNationalGuard