Oil & Gas-Backed Conferees May Push For Keystone Pipeline In Transportation Bill

admin | April 28, 2012

April 30, 2012–The legislative battle over the Keystone XL pipeline rages on now that Senate and House members have been appointed to the transportation conference committee tasked with coming up with language acceptable to both chambers.

The move comes after the House passed a second 90 day extension of current transportation programs that included language that would allow construction of the full Keystone XL pipeline to begin. The pipeline has been at the center of the transportation debate since House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) sought to attach its approval to the transportation bill he favors (H.R. 7). Although Boehner’s bill has been stalled, other bills and amendments to bills that would approve construction of the pipeline have been voted on repeatedly in Congress, particularly in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Many of the conferees have previously voted to approve the project.

MapLight has conducted an analysis of contributions from interests associated with the Oil & Gas sector to conferees on the transportation bill.

The Senate conferees include two of the original sponsors of the Senate version of the transportation bill (MAP-21), Barbara Boxer and Jim Inhofe. The short list also includes John Hoeven, who introduced the amendment to MAP-21 that would have approved the Keystone pipeline.

  • Among the six Republican conferees in the Senate, four of them (John Hoeven, Kay Bailey Hutchison, James Inhofe, and David Vitter) count the Oil & Gas sector among their top two largest contributing interests.
  • Of the Democratic conferees, Max Baucus was the only one to vote 'YES' on the Hoeven amendment. Baucus also received 3.4 times as much from the Oil & Gas industry ($157,150) as the remaining Democratic conferees received on average ($46,024).
  • Overall, the Senate conferees who voted for the Hoeven amendment received on average 6.1 times as much ($281,011) from the Oil & Gas industry between July 1, 2005 and June 30, 2011 as conferees who voted against approving the pipeline ($46,024).

Below is a chart showing the Senate conferees, their vote on the Hoeven amendment, the amount they received in campaign contributions from the Oil & Gas industry as well as the industry's position in their top 10.

Senator Vote on Hoeven Amdt. Amount received from Oil & Gas industry Oil & Gas in Top 10 Contributing Interests
David Vitter (R-LA) Yes $536,000 Yes (#2)
James Inhofe (R-OK) Yes $472,000 Yes (#1)
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) Yes $336,386 Yes (#2)
John Hoeven (R-ND) Yes $251,789 Yes (#1)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT) Yes $162,850 No
Max Baucus (D-MT) Yes $157,150 No
Chuck Schumer (D-NY) No $74,800 No
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) No $59,550 No
Tim Johnson (D-SD) No $55,800 No
Richard Shelby (R-AL) Yes $50,900 No
Bob Menéndez (D-NJ) No $45,600 No
Bill Nelson (D-FL) No $42,967 No
Dick Durbin (D-IL) No $24,300 No
Barbara Boxer (D-CA) No $19,150 No


House of Representatives
House conferees include Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica and Ranking Member Nick Rahall.

  • Out of the 20 Republican conferees in the House, 12 count the Oil & Gas sector among their top 10 contributing interests, with four Republicans finding Oil & Gas in their number one spot.
  • House conferees who voted 'YES' on the PIONEERS Act received on average 5.7 times as much from the Oil & Gas industry ($48,751) as conferees who voted 'NO' ($8,493) between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2011.

The chart below shows how much House conferees received in contributions from the Oil & Gas sector as well as its position in their top 10. It also displays their vote on the PIONEERS Act, which would have approved the Keystone XL pipeline, in addition to other Oil & Gas-related projects. 

House Member Vote on PIONEERS Act Amount received from Oil & Gas industry Oil & Gas in Top 10 Contributing Interests
James Lankford (R-OK) Yes $156,760 Yes (#1)
Fred Upton (R-MI) Yes $120,700 Yes (#4)
Dave Camp (R-MI) Yes $111,100 No
Doc Hastings (R-WA) Yes $97,171 Yes (#1)
Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) Yes $60,750 Yes (#6)
Ed Whitfield (R-KY) Yes $55,500 Yes (#4)
Ralph Hall (R-TX) Yes $55,208 Yes (#1)
Bill Shuster (R-PA) Yes $46,250 Yes (#5)
Rick Crawford (R-AR) Yes $38,922 Yes (#4)
Don Young (R-AK) Yes $37,550 Yes (#5)
Patrick Tiberi (R-OH) Yes $33,550 No
Ed Markey (D-MA) No $32,250 Yes (#10)
John Mica (R-FL) Yes $31,500 No
Larry Bucshon (R-IN) Yes $30,200 Yes (#6)
Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) Yes $29,600 Yes (#10)
Rob Bishop (R-UT) Yes $21,750 Yes (#1)
Richard Hanna (R-NY) Yes $19,500 No
Tim Bishop (D-NY) No $15,050 No
Steve Southerland (R-FL) No $13,900 No
Nick Rahall (D-WV) No $13,400 No
Reid Ribble (R-WI) Yes $11,000 No
John Duncan (R-TN) Yes $10,500 No
Chip Cravaack R-(MN) Yes $6,500 No
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) No $6,300 No
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) No $5,262 No
Jerry Costello (D-IL) No $4,750 No
Elijah Cummings (D-MD) No $4,250 No
Henry Waxman (D-CA) No $3,250 No
Peter DeFazio (D-OR) No $2,500 No
Corrine Brown (D-FL) No $1,000 No
Leonard Boswell (D-IA) Yes $1,000 No
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) No $0 No

METHODOLOGY: MapLight analysis of reported contributions to congressional campaigns of House and Senate members on the conference committee on the transportation bill, from interest groups from the Oil & Gas sector from July 1, 2009–June 30, 2011 for the House of Representatives and July 1, 2005–June 30, 2011. This analysis leaves out non-voting delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington D.C. Campaign contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics (