Washington, D.C. — A new report released today by the Center for American Progress provides an inside look at how a surge of oil and gas industry investments since 2008 has incentivized the National Rifle Association, or NRA, Safari Club International, or SCI, and the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation, or CSF, to help advance drilling interests in Washington, D.C., at the expense of hunters, anglers, and American conservation traditions.
The report uncovers a web of oil and gas industry lobbyists, political contributions, and million-dollar corporate donations that connect at least 28 oil and gas companies to the NRA, SCI, and CSF. As much as 28.5 percent of the NRA’s corporate contributions come from oil and gas companies, including at least $1 million in contributions from Clayton Williams Energy.
“Teddy Roosevelt would raise his eyebrows—if not a big stick—at the way oil and gas money is buying the support of the NRA and the Safari Club,” said Matt Lee-Ashley, a Senior Fellow and Director of CAP’s Public Lands Project. “The oil and gas industry’s investments in these conservative sportsmen groups have yielded powerful allies in some of their biggest battles—from their fight to open roadless areas to drilling to their campaign to stop the protection of endangered wildlife in oil and gas regions.”
The report identifies three areas in which the oil and gas industry’s investments in conservative sportsmen groups are already having an impact:
Endangered and threatened wildlife in oil- and gas-producing regions: The case of the greater sage grouse and the lesser prairie chicken
The backcountry: How the oil and gas industry and its allies are working to undo protections of roadless areas and wilderness study areas
Public access and ownership: The movement to privatize public lands and wildlife
Not only do oil and gas companies provide major financial support for the NRA, SCI, and CSF, they are also closely connected to them through their boards, lobbyists, consultants, and a revolving door of staff—including former political appointees in the President George W. Bush administration.