Republican House Whip Steve Scalise is a “rock star” to the oil and gas industry
Steve Scalise U.S. House of Representatives (R-La.)
For oil and gas companies plumbing U.S. waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Scalise is a powerful ally. He’s lured Republican and Democratic colleagues onto helicopters bound for remote rigs to convince them of the importance of offshore drilling and the risk of regulating it from Washington. Since last April, he’s been fighting to overturn a new Obama administration drilling rule. ▶ Scalise’s district encompasses the full spectrum of oil and gas development. The industry is the top contributor to his 2016 reelection bid and has given $197,000 so far, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington campaign watchdog. “He’s a rock star on our stuff,” says Stephen Brown, vice president for federal government affairs at oil refiner Tesoro. ▶ ExxonMobil says the Obama regulation, which will impose tough requirements for coastal wells and emergency equipment meant to keep them in check, could cost as much as $25 billion over 10 years and limit drilling in the Gulf. The administration rebuffed Scalise’s calls to delay the rule by six months for more public comment. The congressman has vowed to keep pushing for legislation to overturn it. “Everything is on the table,” he says.