HYPOCRISY WATCH: A Look at Spending By Environmental Activists

Environmental activists often claim that they are significantly outspent by energy companies in legislative battles, alleging it has “never been a fair fight.”

But new research from TPH Energy looks to compare advocacy spending from environmental activists and the oil and gas industry side by side – and the results might surprise you:

  • We found the 37 largest non-profits financing these efforts raised more than $2 billion in gifts, grants, and contributions in the fiscal year ending 2017 (latest data). More than $1.8 billion of these revenues were spent on programming. Of that amount, at least $1 billion financed anti-hydrocarbon messaging. That is more than one billion dollars attacking oil and gas in just one year.
  • In that same fiscal year, the 50 largest non-profit organizations representing the voice of oil and gas collectively had $428 million in total revenues (all sources, including dues and conference fees). Functional expenses were $456 million, including staff salaries and all other administrative expenses excluded from the $1.8Bn program expenses of the other group. ($2.4Bn is the comparable figure.)
  • That means net income for the oil & gas group was –$28.6 million in 2017, dropping net assets to $116 million at end of 2017. Compare those figures to +$531 million in net income for the 37-member anti-hydrocarbon activist group, lifting net assets to $14.51 billion.
  • Put it more simply: total spending by the 50 largest oil & gas advocacy organizations is less than 20% of functional expenses—and equal to about 25% of programming expenses—across the 37 largest anti-hydrocarbon advocacy organizations.

That is a lot of money to spend attacking the oil and natural gas industry, which proves the mainstay of our nation’s energy – while renewables backed by environmental groups account for so little.

  • According to US Energy Information Administration data, fossil fuels and traditional energy sources produce nearly two-thirds of all of our nation’s electricity needs, while wind and solar only make up a combined 8 percent.
  • Petroleum products accounted for about 92 percent of the total U.S. transportation sector energy use. Electricity provided less than 1 percent of total transportation sector energy use and nearly all of that in mass transit systems, according to the EIA.
  • And, as we noted previously, renewable energy isn’t all that renewable, with economic and environmental costs signicantly higher than generally portrayed.

The oil and natural gas industry are vital to the nation’s economy and Americans’ way of life – and are under attack from well-funded activists that often misrepresent the industry and the benefits of policies they support.