President Donald Trump’s Inaugural Committee received more than $7 million in energy industry contributions, according to a Federal Election Commission filing released yesterday (April 19).
The total contributions amounted to $107 million—more than former President Barack Obama’s record of $53 million in 2009. Trump’s energy industry donations came from all parts of the sector: oil, natural gas, coal and renewables. These funds go toward the swearing-in ceremony and any subsequent festivities.
Contributions came from both individuals and companies. Energy firm Hess Corp CEO John Hess contributed $1 million. Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren, the main face behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, gave $250,000 for the president’s event. Chevron donated $525,000. Fossil fuel giants Exxon, BP and Citgo Petroleum each donated $500,000, while coal company Murray Energy gave $300,000.
A smaller number of renewable energy companies contributed. Green Plains Renewable Energy, which specializes in ethanol fuel, gave $1 million and NextEra Energy donated $250,000, though most of the energy it produces is natural gas and nuclear, reports InsideClimate News.
The president was vehemently anti-corporate donations during his candidacy, but when The Associated Press asked press secretary Sean Spicer if Trump feels conflicted, Spicer said the inauguration is a “time-honored tradition” with “a lot of people who really take pride in helping us show the world a peaceful transformation of power.”
Since the inauguration, the president and his administration have repealed many regulations impacting the fossil fuel industry. Just four days after moving into the White House, on January 24, Trump signed the presidential memorandum to steamroll the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines.
This week, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt put two rules regulating the fossil fuel industry into review. On Tuesday (April 18), he asked a federal court to delay arguments on a Supreme Court ruling, led by Justice Antonin Scalia, challenging a 2012 Obama-era regulation that would limit mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit was supposed to hear EPA arguments to defend the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard rule May 18, reports ThinkProgress.
Then, yesterday (April 19), the EPA announced it had sent letter to industry interests, including the American Petroleum Institute and Texas Oil and Gas Association, telling them he has begun to review the rule, which Trump called for in his Energy Independence Executive Order last month.