WASHINGTON — Rep. Mike Ross received close to $80,000 in contributions from energy, mining and related interests close to the time of his vote earlier this year against sensitive climate-change legislation, Federal Election Commission records show.
Legislation sponsored by Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Edward Markey of Massachusetts attempts to address global warming by taxing carbon emissions. It would put progressively tighter limits on greenhouse gas emissions with a 17% cut from 2005 levels by 2020, and 80% by 2050.
A similar bill is now being considered in the Senate.
A wide range of industries that emit carbon, especially utilities, are desperately fighting the legislation, warning it would greatly increase electricity and other energy prices and cost American jobs.
Ross was one of only 44 Democrats to oppose the legislation, which passed the House 219-212 on June 26.
Fund-raisers sponsored by energy companies netted him $61,000 in June alone, money coming mainly from political action committees related to oil, coal, nuclear, refining and mining companies and lobbying groups. He received an additional $2,900 that month from individual contributors related to such interests. And in May he got $13,000 from PACs opposed to the climate legislation.
In all, he received contributions from 39 different companies and lobbying groups involved in those issues.
Ross's Washington office deferred questions on the appropriateness of the contributions to his campaign office, but the latter did not respond to a request for comment.
But Gabriela Schneider, spokesman for the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington watchdog group said: “We can see who is getting his ear. We can see who is lining his pockets with campaign contributions.”
Ross's contributions in June: Action Committee for Rural Electrification, $3,000; American Electric Power Co., $2,000; American Gas Association, $1,000; Anadarko Petroleum, $1,000; Arch Coal Inc., $1,000; British Petroleum, $1,000; Chesapeake Energy, $2,500; Chevron, $1,000; CMS Energy Corp., $1,000; Coal PAC, $2,500.
Constellation Energy Group, $1,000; Dominion Power, $1,000; DTE Energy, $1,000; Duke Energy, $1,000; El Paso Corp., $1,000; Entergy, $1,000; Exelon Corp., $1,000.
Foundation Coal Corp., $2,000; IPAA Wildcatters, $1,000; Koch Industries, $5,000.
Lyondell Chemical, $1,000; Marathon Oil, $1,000; National Mining Association, $1,500.
Murphy Oil, $3,000; Northeast Utilities, $1,000; NRG Energy, $1,000; Nuclear Energy Institute, $2,000; Peabody Energy Corp., $3,500; Edison Electric Institute, $2,500; Progress Energy, $1,000; Southern Company, $1,000; Southwestern Energy, $5,000.
Teco Energy, $1,000; Valero Energy, $2,500; Xcel Energy, $1,000.
Contributions received in May: Alliance Coal, $1,000; American Electric Power, $2,000; Chevron, $1,000; Koch Industries, $2,000; Occidental Petroleum, $2,500; Power PAC, $2,000; Tesoro Petroleum, $1,500; United Mine Workers, $1,000.
Individual contributions from such interests included Brian L. Wolff of the Edison Electric Institute, $2,400, and James E. Ford, American Petroleum Institute, $500, both in June.
Ross received even more contributions from opponents to climate change in July and August, including $4,000 more from the Southern Company, $1,000 from Spectraa Energy, $1,000 from the Action Committee for Rural Electrification, $1,000 from Entergy, $2,000 from Murphy Oil and $2,500 from the National Petrochemical Refiners.
In contrast, Ross also received one contribution from a “green” interest, $1,000 from the American Wind Energy Association in May.