Climate Change Lobby

Published — February 25, 2009 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Following Obama’s speech, parsing key players for global warming legislation

Introduction

In last night’s speech, President Obama called on attendees to send him “legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution.” As a new Center report explains, that means the mushrooming number of climate change lobbyists will be talking to a lot of old friends and former bosses.

Many of those lobbyists used to work on Capitol Hill, and some were themselves members of Congress. They represent scores of different climate interests, including some mentioned by Obama — like the electric grid and “technologies like wind power and solar power, advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more efficient cars and trucks.”

Here is a sampling of some representatives who worked for those very players in the climate change lobby last year:

Clean coal

Among the climate lobbyists in 2008 for America’s largest coal producerPeabody Energy — were former Senators Tim Hutchinson, an Arkansas Republican, and Wendell Ford, a Kentucky Democrat, both from the lobbying firm Dickstein Shapiro. Hutchinson served two terms in the House beginning in 1993, followed by one term in the Senate, where he sat on the Armed Services Committee. Ford resided in the Senate for a quarter-century, serving as both majority and minority whip, chairman of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, and as chairman of the Rules Committee.

Power lines

Dow Lohnes Government Strategies was among the lobbying representatives for energy delivery and transmission company, National Grid. Two of its lobbyists last year were Stephen C. Sayle, former Republican counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Eric S. Kessler, former Democratic Energy and Commerce staffer and chief of staff to Representative John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat who chaired that committee before this year.

Solar power

Van Heuvelen Strategies founder Robert Van Heuvelen worked for a decade as chief of staff to Senator Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat. But in 2007 he moved to the other side of the table. Last year he represented three clients on climate, including thin solar film manufacturer First Solar.

Efficient cars and trucks

Former Congressman Martin A. Russo, an Illinois Democrat, served nine terms in the House and sat on two committees key to passing a climate change bill in that chamber — the Energy and Commerce and the Ways and Means committees. In 2008, Russo worked on climate issues on behalf of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Though Obama criticized the “bad practices” of auto manufacturers, he stressed that Americans cannot “walk away from” the industry.

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