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A look at 2023 energy lobbying

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Jan 23, 2024
Illustration of hands grasping money, all surrounding the US Capitol building.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Many energy companies and trade organizations boosted their lobbying spending in 2023, despite the Hill's legislative stagnation.

Why it matters: The industry desperately wants Congress to make it easier to build projects funded by the IRA and infrastructure law.

  • It's generally not possible to tell what stance groups and companies are taking on a given bill in federal lobbying filings, but they offer a good crystal ball of what to watch.

Zoom in: The latest round of lobbying disclosures, filed Monday, shows that the energy industry zeroed in on federal "permitting reform," trade issues and IRA implementation in the last quarter of 2023.

  • The American Petroleum Institute reported lobbying on "draft legislation related to judicial review and changes to the Administrative Procedure Act," as well as a draft on "permitting modernization for leases on federal lands and pipelines."
  • H.R. 1, the GOP's energy and permitting bill, and House Democrats' transmission policy proposals both showed up in disclosures from the Edison Electric Institute and other trades.
  • Hydrogen was another recurring theme. The American Clean Power Association and companies like BP America are focused on implementation of the 45V tax credit — the subject of a very public letter war between industry and environmental groups.

By the numbers: Oil companies and utilities remain the dominant lobbying force in the energy space, even if they're spending less than they did during the Obama era. Some notable numbers:

  • American Petroleum Institute: $1.7 million in Q4 and $6.2 million total in 2023 (compared with $4.4 million in 2022).
  • American Clean Power Association: $430,000 in Q4 and $1.9 million total in 2023 (compared with $1 million in 2022).
  • Edison Electric Institute: $2.9 million in Q4 and $11.5 million total in 2023 (compared with $10.5 million in 2022).
  • Nuclear Energy Institute: $560,000 in Q4 and $2 million total in 2023 (compared with $1.6 million in 2022).
  • Exxon Mobil: $2 million in Q4 and $6.4 million total in 2023 (compared with $7.7 million in 2022).
  • Shell USA: $1.7 million in Q4 and $7 million total in 2023 (compared with $6.7 million in 2022).
  • BP America: $1.5 million in Q4 and $4.1 million total in 2023 (compared with $3.9 million in 2022).
  • Occidental Petroleum: $4.4 million in Q4 and $12.2 million total in 2023 (compared with $10.5 million in 2022).
  • Orsted North America: $360,000 in Q4 and $1 million total in 2023 (compared with $570,000 in 2022).
  • Southern Company: $2.9 million in Q4 and $10.9 million total in 2023 (compared with $9.2 million in 2022).
  • NextEra Energy: $2 million in Q4 and $7.6 million total in 2023 (compared with $7.3 million in 2022).

A few other things caught our eye in the Q4 disclosures:

  • The PROVE IT Act — the data bill that's part of the Hill's carbon tariff talks — got lobbying attention from API and the Independent Petroleum Association of America (both have backed the bill).
  • API, ACP and wind developer Orsted, among others, have been lobbying on the House's Coast Guard authorization bill. It has a provision limiting foreign offshore workers that developers say could derail the offshore wind industry.
  • ACP also reported lobbying on the Leveling the Playing Field 2.0 Act, a bill they and other business trades "strongly oppose."
  • That legislation would strengthen the Commerce Department's authority to conduct circumvention investigations (like the solar probe that caused so much fuss last year).
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