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Fracking for Influence

The Natural Gas Industrys $750 Million Campaign to Convince Congress To Ignore the Dangers of Fracking


James Browning
Regional Director of State Operations, Common Cause

Josh Fox

David Levdansky
Former Pennsylvania State Representative

Helen Slottje

Director of Gasland

Attorney, Community Environmental Defense Council

What is Fracking?
Fracking involves injecting a mix of sand, chemicals, and water into a well at high pressure in order to break up underground rock formations and free up natural gas. Pollution may occur underground, with fracking chemicals or methane directly contaminating aquifers and drinking wells, or above ground, as streams or tributaries are polluted by spills or improper wastewater disposal. Nationwide, more than 1,000 complaints of water contamination due to fracking have already been reported.

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How Fracking Works

How Fracking Money Works

Influence In Congress
From 2001 through June 2011, the fracking industry gave $20.5 million to current members of Congress, and spent $726 million on lobbying. Contributions heavily favored current members of Congress who voted for the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which exempted fracking from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Current members who voted for the bill received an average of $73,433, while those who voted against the bill received an average of $10,894.

A Surge In Campaign Contributions

Fracking Industry PAC and Employee Campaign Contributions, 2001-2010
5,000,000 4,500,000 4,000,000 3,500,000 Total in Dollars 3,000,000 3,306,972 4,573,727

2,000,000 1,500,000 1,000,000 500,000 0 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 700,438 703,070 1,295,178 1,486,132 1,646,124 1,697,182





Fracking & ALEC

The natural gas industrys fight against regulation has gotten important help at the state level from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC generates and lobbies for hundreds of model bills every year despite its status as a tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) organization. Prominent financial backers of ALECs activities include the American Petroleum Institute, ExxonMobil, and Koch Industries, owner of the largest network of natural gas-transmitting pipelines in the country.

Gasland: 2010 Oscar Nominee for Best Documentary

Fracking In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is the only major gas-producing state that does not tax the extraction of natural gas. Pennsylvania is the only state that lets drillers dump fracking wasterwater into state waterways. Pennsylvania has been called the sweet spot for fracking by the natural gas industry because of its weak fracking regulations. Pennsylvania is also one of just eleven states that do not limit campaign contributions.

Fracking In New York

Groups opposed to New Yorks fracking moratorium spent $2.8 million on lobbying in 2010, compared to $700,000 for supporters of a moratorium.

In 2010, the natural gas company Chesapeake Appalachia spent $1.2 million on advertising and $870,000 on advertising in New York. In mid-December, Common Cause New York will release a study of campaign contributions from the natural gas industry to state parties, candidates, and elected officials.

Fracking In New York

Annual Lobbing Expenditures for 2010 of Groups Lobbying on Moratorium Bills (S7592, S8129B, A10490, A1443B)
1400000 1200000 1000000 800000 600000 400000 200000 0
Natural Gas Companies (Opposition to moratorium bills) Natural Gas Associations (Opposition to moratorium bills)

Environmental groups & other organizations (Support moratorium bills)

Fracking In Ohio
The Fracking Industry gave $2.8 million to Ohio candidates and political parties from 2001-2011. While fracking interests spend millions on lobbying at the state level, Ohios weak lobbying law fails to capture an estimated 90% of what is being spent by Ohio lobbyists. Many of Ohios drilling regulations are badly out of date. For example, a100-ft. setback limit was established in the early 20th-century to keep oil derricks from falling on houses. Drillers do not have to disclose which fracking chemicals are being used in particular wells.

Fracking In Michigan
From 2001-2010, the fracking industry gave $2.2 million to candidates and political parties in Michigan, and spent $2.8 million on lobbying. Michigan Congressman Fred Upton (R) has received $153,917 from the industry and chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where the FRAC Act, which would require drillers to disclose the chemicals used in fracking, has yet to receive a hearing in the 112th Congress. Michigan was home to the countrys most expensive Supreme Court election in 2010; the Court will have the final say on many of the states new fracking regulations.

What You Can Do

1. To check disclosure of fracking chemicals in your state, go to 2. Expose political spending by the natural gas industry by urging your elected officials to require disclosure of all independent political expenditures. 3. Corporate Accountability: As with all corporations, the shareholders of natural gas companies should have the right to approve or disapprove any political expenditures by their companies, and the extent of corporations political expenditures should be disclosed to their shareholders.

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