Show Me The Money!

Guess what?  The oil industry is about to launch a populist campaign against climate change legislation.  (Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.)

Why would they do such a thing? The latest statistics on executive pay may tell us something about that.  It turns out, according to Reuters,  that the top bracket of employee compensation is dominated by oil executives:

The CEOs of Occidental Petroleum Corp (NYSE:OXY – News), Hess Corp (NYSE:HES – News), Ultra Petroleum Corp (NYSE:UPL – News), Chesapeake Energy Corp (NYSE:CHK – News) and XTO Energy Inc (NYSE:XTO – News) all took in more than $100 million in total realized compensation, while the heads of EOG Resources Inc (NYSE:EOG – News) and Nabors Industries Ltd (NYSE:NBR – News) received eight-digit awards.

Fortune also lists Exxon Mobile and Chevron as the two most profitable companies in America.  There’s nothing wrong with making money, of course — but it’s not hard to understand why these folks are less than enthusiastic about expanding environmental regulation.  And modern politics being what what they are, it’s also not hard to understand why they want to put a populist front on their corporate profits:

The US oil and gas lobby are planning to stage public events to give the appearance of a groundswell of public opinion against legislation that is key to Barack Obama’s climate change strategy, according to campaigners.

A key lobbying group will bankroll and organise 20 ”energy citizen” rallies in 20 states. In an email obtained by Greenpeace, Jack Gerard, the president of the American Petroleum Institute (API), outlined what he called a “sensitive” plan to stage events during the August congressional recess to put a “human face” on opposition to climate and energy reform. (From the Guardian)

Just wait: people will start showing up at townhall meetings soon to demand that the government stop using Automotive Death Panels to kill their cars and replace them with the foreign-born Obamobiles.