Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

How Money in Politics Impacts Fracking

Energy
How Money in Politics Impacts Fracking

Common Cause of New York

In the 2012 election cycle, pro-fracking interests contributed a combined total of nearly $400,000 to candidates for state legislature and county executive in New York's Southern Tier.

Although incumbents uniformly prevailed, the natural gas industry and its boosters have attempted to frame these results as a "mandate" in support of fracking. The more likely analysis is that the trappings of entrenched incumbency, such as name recognition and an established fundraising apparatus, determined the outcome. However, in some cases pro-fracking contributions made up more than 20 percent of the candidate's total fundraising.

It's unclear exactly what role fracking played in the minds of Southern Tier voters. But, by examining campaign finance records, this analysis reveals the role of the fracking industry and its boosters in relation to their preferred candidates.

Common Cause/NY's analysis uses a broad definition of "fracking money" which includes the entire spectrum of industry interests and boosters rather than only the natural gas production sector, such as engineering firms, construction industry organizations, unions, law firms with oil and gas practices, freight rail and trucking interests, and other member companies and entities of pro-fracking organizations like Clean Growth Now or Unshackle Upstate. All of the interests included in this dataset are either directly involved in the business of fracking and gas field development, or on the record in support of expanding natural gas production.

KEY FINDINGS

  • Fracking interests and boosters strongly supported incumbent lawmakers over challengers, regardless of party affiliation. All incumbents easily won re-election by 20 points or more.
  • Broome County Executive Debbie Preston (R) ($82,428 or 22 percent of total) and State Senator Thomas Libous (R) ($190,700, 15 percent of total) received the most money from fracking-related sources, with contributions from a wide array of interests including gas industry PACs, drillers, engineers, construction unions, and asphalt and gravel companies.
  • Preston and Libous' opponents, Tarik Abdelazim (D) and John Orzel (D), ran explicitly anti-fracking campaigns and predictably received very little support from fracking interests and boosters.
  • Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D) ($16,631 or 15 percent of total) received significant contributions from fracking boosters including construction unions, oil & gas law firms, and the commercial trucking lobby, despite her cautious stance that neither firmly opposes or supports fracking.
  • Lupardo's opponent, Julie Lewis (R) received almost no support from fracking interests and boosters despite a strongly pro-fracking position.
  • With the exception of Assemblyman Christopher Friend (R) who largely abstains from fundraising, the other incumbents in the Southern Tier state legislature all received a significant portion of their campaign contributions (between 9 percent and 14 percent of all funds raised) from fracking-related sources.

 

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

——–

Click here to sign a petition to tell the Bureau of Land Management to issue strong rules for federal fracking leases on public lands.

 

Project goal: To create an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to leather, in this case using fungi.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Plastic waste is bulldozed at a landfill. Needpix

The plastic recycling model was never economically viable, but oil and gas companies still touted it as a magic solution to waste, selling the American public a lie so the companies could keep pushing new plastic.

Read More Show Less

Trending

54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Maria Symchych-Navrotska / Getty Images

By Pamela Davis-Kean

With in-person instruction becoming the exception rather than the norm, 54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Initial projections from the Northwest Evaluation Association, which conducts research and creates commonly used standardized tests, suggest that these fears are well-grounded, especially for children from low-income families.

Read More Show Less
A teenager reads a school English assignment at home after her school shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 22, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York. Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis via Getty Images

The pandemic has affected everyone, but mental health experts warn that youth and teens are suffering disproportionately and that depression and suicide rates are increasing.

Read More Show Less
In an ad released by Republican Voters Against Trump, former coronavirus task force member Olivia Troye roasted the president for his response. Republican Voters Against Trump / YouTube

Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch