Helena, Mont.—As BP and the federal government work to contain the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, some people in the Gulf states are seeking legislative action in an attempt to prevent future oil spills. Florida Governor Charlie Crist, for example, has floated the idea of a special legislative session to constitutionally ban oil drilling off the coast of Florida.
Any such state efforts might well encounter resistance from legislators, though, since oil and gas companies and their employees gave more than $21 million to state lawmakers, party committees and ballot measure committees in the Gulf states from 2003 through 2008. A new report <http://www.followthemoney.org/press/ReportView.phtml?r=430&em=95> from the National Institute on Money in State Politics examined the contributions and lobbying efforts of these entities.
Texas received the vast majority of the oil and gas contributions, at $16.7 million. Members of the Texas Railroad Commission, which issues permits for oil and gas drilling and regulates the industry, received $2.6 million from oil and gas companies and employees.
Other states in the region received substantial contributions:
- Louisiana — $2.2 million
- Mississippi — $1.3 million
- Florida — $686,210
- Alabama — $348,450