More Than 1 in 4 Members of the Senate Have Fossil Fuel Investments

At the COP26 climate conference, President Biden assured world leaders this week that the United States would fulfill its pledge to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

But for Biden or a future president to get the U.S. to achieve that, they’ll almost certainly have to get legislation beyond the pared-down Build Back Better Act passed that restricts fossil fuels, an industry in which dozens of senators and their households are personally invested. The households of at least 28 U.S. senators own investments in the fossil fuel industry worth as much as a combined $12.6 million, according to Sludge’s analysis of financial disclosures.

The investments are valued at $3.7 million to $12.6 million. Many of them have been held by lawmakers for at most three years. Twenty-eight senators have publicly-traded stock in companies such the oil supermajor Chevron, the pipeline giant Enterprise Products, and electric utility NextEra. These stocks are held by trade associations that lobby Congress against enacting strong legislation to curb pollution. Five senators are involved in energy funds based around oil and natural gas assets. Three of them also own stock in private fossil fuel companies. The Senators’ investments are disclosed to the Senate Office of Public Records. They can be held jointly by their spouses or dependents.

(Click on the arrow in table above to see all senators.

The latest Emissions Gap ReportThe United Nations Environment Programme predicts that the global temperature will rise 2.7 degrees Celsius in the next century, based on current trajectories including climate change mitigation promises. “That is well above the goals of the Paris climate agreement and would lead to catastrophic changes in the Earth’s climate,” the report states.

The White House of Biden had established a goal for net-zero electricity by 2035. This would be in line with a net-zero economy by 2050. The House is working on climate provisions for the budget reconciliation bill. This bill could be voted on today in the House. It was drafted after major environmental programs, including a clean-energy standard and a methane emission fee, were removed from the package by Sen. Joe Manchin (D.W.Va.). The latest Build Back better Act would spend $546 billion over a 10-year window on climate measures. This includes dozens of initiatives. section-by-section summaryThis information was posted on the website of the Rules Committee.

Three Energy Subcommittee Dems are Invested

The Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy has jurisdiction over “global climate change,” “oil and natural gas regulation,” and “oil, gas and coal production and distribution,” among other things. Three of the eight Democratic members are presently residing in fossil fuels. This includes the two senators who have the most valuable investments of all members of Congress.

Joe Manchin is the Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair and Energy Subcommittee Ex-officio member. His non-public stock and accounts payable from a pair family-owned companies, Enersystems and Farmington Resources are valued at between $1.2 and $6 million. Manchin’s household has received over $1 million in income in the past two years from Enersystems as the senator has stripped the Democrats’ budget reconciliation bill of major climate programs that would have transitioned coal-fired plants like the one where the company, now run by his son, holds a prime fuel services contract. Manchin’s committee also added more than $11.3 billion in funding to the bipartisan infrastructure bill that could benefit his family company’s niche waste coal industry.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, utilities are using 20 percent more coal this year than last year. This, combined with a higher energy consumption following the lifting of some coronavirus panademic measures, has resulted in an increase of 8% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. According to the EIA agency, coal surpassed nuclear power to become America’s second-largest source of electricity after natural gas.

Two other senators among the seven Democratic members of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy benefit from fossil fuel company stock: John Hickenlooper, who has up to $1 million invested in fossil fuel companies including Chevron; and Democrat-caucusing Independent Angus King, whose spouse has up to $50,000 in electric company NextEra Energy, one of the largest electric power generators from natural gas in the U.S.

Also on the subcommittee is Republican Roger Marshall, with a maximum of almost $100,000 invested in the industry, led by his household’s 5% stake in Kansas-based energy logistics company MV Purchasing. That asset, described as “Oil working interest (Stafford County, KS),” earned Marshall’s household between $50,000 and $100,000 in income last year as “rent/royalties.” In addition, Marshall’s spouse disclosed earning between $250,000 and $500,000 through a March 1 sale of 20% interest in oil royalties at Quivira Ranch, in the same Kansas county.

Tom Carper, Delaware, is the chair of the Committee on Environment and Public Works. He has a household holding of fossil fuel companies totaling $274,000, including stock shares in Chevron and Duke Energy. He’s joined on the committee by a pair of Republican stockholders: John Boozman, with up to $60,000 in oil companies, and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, with a maximum investment with her spouse of up to nearly $300,000 as she serves as the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Oversight.

Gary Peters, Democrat of Michigan, has retained fossil fuel industry investments from 2018A maximum of $355,000 in companies such as electric utilities NextEra which pays millions in dues and electric services company DTE Energy which currently has four operating coal plants, and electric utilities NextEra which pays millions in dues. In 2019, Peters added up to $50,000 worth of stock in natural gas and electricity provider Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to his portfolio.

Republican Bill Hagerty of Tennessee owns as much as almost $1.5 million in nine fossil fuel companies, led by up to half a million dollars in pipeline firm Enterprise Products Partners, a member of top national lobbying groups the American Petroleum Institute (API) and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), and the same amount in methane gas giant Energy Transfer. Ted Cruz shares $400,000 with his spouse in Houston-based Enterprise Products, Texas’ ExxonMobil, Oklahoma-based ONE Gas, and Texas’ ExxonMobil.

InfluenceMap, a UK research group, analyzes lobbying communications. this month foundChevron and ExxonMobil are the two largest negatively influential global companies in Paris-aligned climate policy. Exxon has spent $4.6 million on Facebook political and social issue ads so far this year. It promotes itself as part of the solution to climate change while its officials hold leadership positions within trade groups such as API and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Chevron’s first–ever climate lobbying report this year did not attempt to reckon with its trade associations’ lobbying against policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In total, senators’ households have as much as $275,000 invested in ExxonMobil and as much as $370,000 invested in Chevron.

InfluenceMap’s analysis found that the most negatively influential lobby groups on emissions policy were API, AFPM, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Mining Association. API’s millions spent on Facebook ads this year have recently opposed the Build Back Better Act as “anti-industry legislation,” and have promoted “natural gas” as a solution. A 2019 reportOver a dozen environmental groups, including 350 and Center for Biological Diversity, concluded that leaking methane from natural gas energy would push the globe over the Paris Agreement’s emissions limits. This conclusion was confirmed by the International Energy Agency in May. backed the winding downBy 2040, there will be a total of 3,000 oil, gas, or coal power plants.

Rick Scott, who was elected Florida’s representative by 0.2% of the vote in 2018, disclosed that his spouse has an investment in AG Energy Credit Opportunities Fund IV LP worth up to $500,000 and that he is currently the beneficiary. The fund was announced last year and aimed to raise funds. $1.5 billionAngelo Gordon, an alternative investment firm based in New York, offered to purchase distressed debt from oil and gas companies. extends creditto companies in North American oil and natural gas industries. The Scotts also own investments in municipal bonds in natural gas industry. These are not included in this analysis because they are reported as government securities. They have a total value of more than $3 million as of 2020.

Since their 2019 reports, several senators have made public disclosures about selling off fossil fuel investment investments. Ron Wyden’s spouse sold up to $50,000 in ExxonMobil on August 21, divesting in full from ExxonMobil, as well as from shares in industrial conglomerate General Electric, whose stock is owned by at least fiveOther senators Dianne Feinstein has stopped reporting a $1,000 asset in Antero Midstream, a gas company that she and her spouse owned in 2019. John Hoeven, a Republican from North Dakota and the ranking member on Subcommittee on Energy is no longer reporting holding assets in oil company Antero Midstream that she and her investor spouse held in 2019.

According to the The Average Age of Senators at the Start of the 117th Congress, it was 64.3 years. Congressional Research Service. The median age of all 28 senators in this analysis is 66. Joe Manchin, Tom Carper, and John Boozman are the highest at 77 and 74 respectively. Based on average U.S. life expectancy, most of the Senate’s fossil fuel investors will be dead before the planet reaches 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels as projected by the U.N. to hit between 2030 and 2052, beyond which the most deadly impacts of climate change will begin being felt by those still alive.


Sludge was the primary tool used to define assets in fossil fuel industries. company listFrom the No Fossil Fuel Money project, a non-profit advocacy group Oil Change U.S. that can be searched online and downloadable in complete. This analysis includes several investment funds. Vanguard EnergyFonds and Energy Select Sector, each received “F” grades from Fossil Free Funds, a resource from the nonprofit shareholder advocacy group As You Sow. A handful of assets were manually categorised, including AG Energy Credit Opportunities Fund. Data current as of Nov. 3, 2020. The Senate Office of Public Records published periodic transaction reports, as well as 2020 annual financial disclosures that included stock holdings and value ranges.

Misc. Findings

  • Mark Warner reported selling up to $250,000 in Maryland-based energy company Empire Petroleum Partners LLC on February 5, as an “Underlying asset of Sachs Capital – Empire B, LLC,” but the Virginia Democrat still holds a stake potentially worth up to $400,000 in his portfolio.
  • Mike Crapo from Idaho reported last year’s royalty income of more than $16,000 from a 3% stake at a North Dakota subsurface mineral rights lease. This asset was not included in the analysis because it did not have more information. However, McKenzie County is the location of oil and gas production according an industry resource.
  • Senate reports claim that Richard Burr’s spouse, Susan Burr, sold Enterprise Products stock up to $165,000 in April.
  • Independent Angus King’s spouse unloaded shares of ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and oilfield services company Schlumberger in August 2020 worth a combined maximum of $45,000.
  • Tom Carper’s spouse sold a corporate bond in oil and gas exploration company Energen valued at up to $15,000 on June 21 of this year, though her household still holds the company’s securities.
  • John Kennedy, ranking member on the Appropriations subcommittee of Energy and Water development, reports a one percent interest in APK Minerals LLC, Olympia, Washington. Last year, there was no assigned investment value.