This story was updated at 9:30 a.m. EST.
The biggest climate bill in U.S. history helped fuel heavy lobbying from chemical, oil and electric utility companies.
Records disclosed to Congress in recent days showed that the American Chemistry Council came out on top, spending $19.8 million. That’s a 19 percent increase over 2021.
The combined spending of three petroleum interests far outpaced that figure, however. Occidental Petroleum Corp., ConocoPhillips Co. and Exxon Mobil Corp. combined for a whopping $27.2 million in spending in 2022, a 23 percent increase over 2021.
It was a busy year for many industries, headlined by the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes $369 billion in climate change and energy spending.
The chemical industry stands to benefit from the climate and energy provisions in the law, since its companies can take advantage of technologies like carbon capture, weatherization, low-carbon fuels and electric vehicles. But it also fought policies, including one to reduce methane emissions and another that reinstates a tax on petroleum products to pay for toxic site cleanup.
The ACC fought hard in 2021 against the a provision in the bipartisan infrastructure law that reinstated a chemical industry tax to pay for such Superfund cleanup (E&E Daily, Aug. 9, 2021).
“In 2022 we advocated for our members to meet several challenges and opportunities across a number of important issue areas,” ACC spokesperson Scott Openshaw said in an email.
He then rattled off a number of areas his group lobbied Congress on:
- Support for the Kigali Amendment, which phases out hydrofluorocarbons.
- Implementation of the Toxic Substances Control Act and the new chemicals program.
- Permitting reform.
- Investing in lower-emissions technologies.
- Working to prevent a rail strike.
- Infrastructure development.
- Improving energy efficiency.
American Electric Power Co. Inc., with $8.8 million in spending, ranked No. 6 for the year among energy companies or associations, an E&E News analysis of the lobbying records show. It was a 27 percent increase from 2021.
“In 2022, there were significant infrastructure and energy-related bills being debated by Congress or implemented through federal agencies,” said Scott Blake, a spokesperson for the electric utility.
“We engaged with lawmakers on the Inflation Reduction Act, Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, as well as a host of other energy issues to ensure our customers can realize the benefits of these laws,” he said.
The other organizations on the list either declined to comment on their lobbying or did not return requests for comment.
Occidental, which spent the most lobbying among oil and natural gas companies, had $10.7 million in expenditures, slightly below its 2021 level, records show. The oil and chemical giant said in its disclosures that it focused on issues such as carbon capture, federal lands, methane emissions, toxic chemical regulation and permitting standards.
Koch Industries Inc., the conglomerate led by conservative activist Charles Koch, spent $11.3 million in lobbying, 19 percent higher than 2021. The company, whose holdings include oil refining operations, said it lobbied on matters including climate change policies, the renewable fuel standard, and various tax proposals that affect energy and the general business community.
Southern Co. spent the most of any electric utility, coming in at No. 5 with $9.2 million, slightly higher than the previous year. Its priorities, disclosures show, include the climate law, fees charged by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, legislation to promote advanced nuclear power and bills that would incentivize the building of electric transmission infrastructure.
The Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned electric utilities, spent $10.5 million, up 5 percent from 2021. It lobbied on permitting issues, trade, Inflation Reduction Act implementation, renewable energy incentives and nuclear power incentives, among other policies, it said.