Former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu has been hired by the lobbying firm Van Ness Feldman (VNF), the company announced today. Landrieu's title will be "senior policy advisor," and a release from VNF said Landrieu would "advise clients on various public policy, strategic, and regulatory issues with an emphasis on energy, natural resources, and infrastructure matters."When an oil lobbyist writes a letter to the paper advocating approval of an oil pipeline through an already threatened section of our polluted and eroding wetlands, it's probably a good idea for the paper to disclose that relationship. Participants at a public hearing in Napoleonville last night understood it well enough.
According to the website Open Secrets, VNF's client base includes several companies dealing in oil and gas, as well as the energy field in general — a natural fit for Landrieu, who served as chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in 2014. The company has offices in Washington D.C. and Seattle.
As politician after politician lined up to throw their support behind the project, members of the crowd began to chant "How much? How much?" in reference to how much they receive in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry. Former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, received the brunt of the ire.Bayou Bridge and DAPL are both projects of Energy Transfer Partners. This week, ETP received a go-ahead from the Army Corps of Engineers to resume construction in North Dakota.
Oil-and-gas professionals and environmental groups have sparred over the pipeline for months. The debate has occurred against the backdrop of the demonstrations in the Standing Rock Reservation against the Dakota Access pipeline, which some have attributed to the national interest in pipeline construction.
Protesters rallied at demonstrations nationwide Wednesday to protest the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to greenlight the construction of the contested $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline. The company behind the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, says it will start work immediately. Hundreds of people gathered outside the White House in Washington, D.C., to protest the project, which many fear could contaminate the Missouri River, which serves as a drinking water source for millions. Crowds also gathered in Los Angeles, Manhattan, Denver and San Francisco, where about a dozen people were arrested blockading the doors of the Federal Building. More protesters rallied in Ithaca, New York; Columbus, Ohio; and Chicago, where four people were arrested after locking themselves to each other to shut down a Citibank to protest its investments in the pipeline. Many of the protesters were furious not only about the government’s approval of the pipeline, but also about Trump’s recent claims that no one had called the White House to express opposition to the project.The White House, in fact, has not been taking public comment phone calls at all. Your Congresspersons do, though. Most of the time anyway. Unfortunately for us, the folks Louisiana voters send to Washington mostly just want to grow up to be oil lobbyists like Mary Landrieu. But until they get there, they still technically need to field your comments.