May 04, 2011 2:22 pm ET - by Matt Gertz
House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) are teaming up this Friday for a field hearing in Bakersfield, CA on the merits of hydraulic fracturing. As the Courage Campaign's Issa Watch reports, the hearing's scheduled witnesses include "Bakersfield's Republican state assemblymember and four representatives from oil and gas companies, including major Republican donors and representatives from Big Oil front groups." The witnesses even include donors to Issa and McCarthy themselves.
It's not surprising that Issa and McCarthy would produce a hearing heavily weighted toward the companies that stand to benefit from maintaining lax regulation of hydraulic fracturing. Both have been heavily funded by companies engaged in hydraulic fracture.
In the most recent cycle alone, Issa received at least $17,500 from the political action committees of just four such companies, while McCarthy received at least $23,500. Over their careers, Issa has received $53,500 from those companies, while McCarthy has taken in $53,000.
Occidental bills itself as "California's No. 1 natural gas producer and No. 2 producer of oil and gas on a barrels of oil equivalent basis." According to its website, "More than one-fourth of Oxy's California production currently is from shales," i.e. obtained through fracking.
According to a Chevron executive's letter to the Environmental Protection Agency, "Chevron relies on technologies, including hydraulic fracturing, to help develop America's much needed oil and gas resources in a safe and environmentally responsible manner."
Chevron also relies on help from politicians like McCarthy and Issa, who they handsomely fund. Issa has received $23,500 from Chevron's PAC over the course of his career, while McCarthy has gotten $17,500.
According to its website, fracturing is "a major component of Halliburton's geothermal expertise." In 2010, Halliburton's PAC gave $1,000 to Issa and $3,500 to McCarthy. McCarthy also received $1,000 during the 2008 cycle.
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