Several national and dozens of local organizations who work for wildlife conservation, emissions reductions, and other solutions to the climate crisis employ lobbyists who also work for the fossil fuel industry. The motives for these conservation groups employing coal, oil, and gas lobbyists may vary–from gaining access to pro-fossil fuel elected officials, to developing working relationships with fossil fuel companies–but the impact of this strategy is to help these fossil fuel lobbyists present themselves as environmentalists.
Calpine, the biggest generator of gas-fired electricity in the country, shared eight lobbyists with the Environmental Defense Fund in 2022. Calpine claims that gas is “clean-burning” while EDF warns that methane from extracting, transporting, and burning gas will make the climate crisis worse.
Lobbying for conservation and fossil fuels at the same time might sound double-black-diamond difficult, but in 2022 the state’s fossil fuel lobbyists made it look easy. The City of Denver, several local and national conservation groups, and climate-focused philanthropies were among those retaining oil and gas lobbyists.
The climate crisis is wreaking havoc on Maine’s marine ecosystems and its fishing industry. Yet in 2023, lobbyists for one of the country’s largest operators of gas-fired power plants, NextEra Resources, also represented two groups fighting to protect Maine’s waters from the crisis–the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and Protect Maine's Fishing Heritage.
The New England Aquarium has taken an activist stance on climate change and has worked with Massachusetts state legislators to file bills dealing with ocean conservation science, blue workforce development, and carbon sequestration. In 2022, the Aquarium’s lobbying firm also lobbied on behalf of Enbridge.
A proposed expansion of Westmoreland Mining’s Rosebud coal mine would increase the state’s methane emissions and exacerbate climate impacts such as increasing wildfire smoke and forest die-off. Conversely, the Trust For Public Land is working to preserve the state’s forests and wild lands. In 2022-23, Westmoreland and the Trust For Public Land were represented by the same lobbyist.