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Sun Oct 28, 2018, 03:07 AM

Pro-offshore oil group chaired by LePage is run by energy lobbyists

Source: Portland Press Herald

A coalition of governors headed by Gov. Paul LePage that seeks to open most federal waters to oil and gas exploration is staffed by employees of an oil industry lobbying firm, according to records obtained by the Maine Sunday Telegram.

The Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition, which LePage joined in 2015 and has chaired for the past two years, outsources all of its day-to-day staffing, research and communications tasks to an advocacy group purporting to represent energy consumers. But a closer look at the group – the Consumer Energy Alliance – reveals that it is funded by energy producers and staffed and run by senior officials of HBW Resources, a Houston energy-focused lobbying and consulting firm.

The coalition – whose five other members are all governors from oil-producing states – has sought to greatly expand the area open to offshore energy development, streamline permitting and increase the share of revenues states receive. The group has relied on HBW officials to organize meetings, draft responses to press inquiries, research and develop its talking points and even design its logo.

“If you want to put the fox in charge of the henhouse, that’s what these governors have done in using CEA to drive their work,” says Sean Mahoney, executive vice president of the Conservation Law Foundation, which spearheaded the 1982 moratorium on drilling in New England waters that the Trump administration has proposed overturning. “They’re unabashedly an organization formed and staffed by oil companies and drilling companies with the sole purpose of fostering greater oil exploration both offshore and onshore.”

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Read more: https://www.pressherald.com/2018/10/28/pro-offshore-oil-group-chaired-by-lepage-is-run-by-energy-lobbyists/

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