Biodiesel lobbying dwarfed by oil industry

By Susanne Retka Schill | November 01, 2007
While the Farm Bill and the Energy Bill are being discussed on Capitol Hill, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) reported $633,000 spent on lobbying efforts during the first half of 2007. The report was issued to comply with a lobbying disclosure act.

"As biodiesel becomes more integrated into our nation's long-term energy strategy, our need to expand our presence in Washington, D.C., became apparent," said NBB Chief Executive Officer Joe Jobe. "Our lobbying efforts will ensure that our industry's voice is heard and that the NBB is well-positioned to address the challenges facing the biodiesel industry."

Other biodiesel-related companies that reported lobbying dollars included biodiesel producer Imperium Renewables Inc. ($160,000 spent on renewable energy policy and Farm Bill reauthorization), and algae developer Greenfuel Technologies Corp. ($20,000 spent on energy tax bills). Agribusiness firms Cargill Inc. ($160,000) and Archer Daniels Midland Co. ($440,000) are more difficult to gauge because of the large number of interests each company has in addition to biodiesel issues. Tyson Foods Inc. also allocated $550,000 to lobbying efforts for renewable diesel issues and the Farm Bill, along with a wide array of other issues.

In contrast, several petroleum companies spent $18.4 million in the same six months, including BP America Inc. ($2.06 million), Chevron Corp. ($4.08 million), ConocoPhillips Co. ($2.24 million), Exxon Mobil Corp. ($6.44 million), Marathon Oil Co. ($2.01 million) and Shell Oil ($1.56 million). The disclosures for the oil companies' lobbying activities reflect their widespread interests that extend beyond renewable fuels issues to international trade issues, marine bills and numerous other topics.

The U.S. Senate's Office of Public Records Web site (www.sopr.senate.gov) explains lobbying laws and gives public access to the disclosure reports. The Center for Responsive Politics uses the Senate records to compile industry totals and report total expenditures for organizations contracting with multiple lobbying firms (www.opensecrets.org).
 
 
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