Western Energy Alliance is a Trade Association Representing the Interests of Oil and Gas Companies in the West

Western Energy Alliance Advocates on Behalf of Western Oil and Gas Companies

Western Energy Alliance is a Trade Association of Oil and Natural Gas Companies in the West. “Western Energy Alliance is a nonprofit trade association representing more than 300 companies engaged in all aspects of environmentally responsible exploration and production (E&P) of oil and natural gas in the West. We are an advocacy organization promoting the beneficial use and development of oil and natural gas, and the important economic, environmental and energy security solutions provided by the industry in the West. Since 1974, the Alliance has been the voice of the Western oil and natural gas industry, representing the ‘upstream’ segment of the industry. Alliance members include independents, the majority of which are small businesses with an average of fourteen employees, and associated companies.” [Western Energy Alliance, accessed 11/25/19]

Western Energy Advocates For Reducing Regulations To The Oil Industry And Once Argued For A “Moratorium On New Federal Regulations”

Western Energy Alliance Professes to Dedicate Itself to Environmental Responsibility When it Actually Advocates for Favorable Regulatory Outcomes for Oil and Natural Gas Companies. “The group describes itself as ‘dedicated to environmentally responsible exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the West,’ despite opposing almost every land management and energy reform initiative of the Obama administration.” [PolluterWatch, accessed 11/25/19]

Western Energy Alliance Lobbied Congress to Ban Obstructive Lawsuits and to Enact a Moratorium on Federal Regulations of Hydraulic Fracturing. “Predicting a rise in energy production over the next 10 years and with it, billions of dollars in potential revenue and investments, the alliance is asking Congress to put an end to lawsuits that obstruct domestic energy production and to enact a moratorium on new federal regulations, including those aimed at hydraulic fracturing.” [Billings Gazette, 04/24/12]

Western Energy Alliance Fights Against Regulation of Methane Emissions. “Kathleen Sgamma, president of the trade group Western Energy Alliance, testified that the Methane Waste Protection Act and two other bills to more tightly regulate oil and gas companies would do more harm than good.” [Colorado Politics, 9/24/19]

Western Energy Alliance Supports Using Funds From Fossil Fuel Production on Public Land to Wipe Out the Maintenance Backlog. “The bills would allow fossil fuels production on public land to ‘fix up the national parks’ and wipe out half their maintenance backlog within five years, said Aaron Johnson, vice president of public affairs for the Western Energy Alliance, which represents oil and gas producers on federal lands in the West.” [Bloomberg Environment, 7/12/19]

Western Energy Alliance Fought the Obama Administration for Not Drilling Enough on Federal Land. “A trade group for the energy industry accused federal officials Thursday of illegally canceling or postponing the sale of more than two dozen oil and gas leases over the past two years, including some in Colorado. The Western Energy Alliance sued the Obama administration in U.S. District Court in New Mexico, seeking to force officials to hold lease sales four times a year as required under the federal Mineral Leasing Act. [The Denver Post, 08/12/16]

Western Energy Alliance Believes in Putting Public Lands to Economic Use. “Western Energy Alliance believes in the principle of multiple use of public lands. As the population in western states swells and more focus is paid to the various uses of these lands, it’s increasingly important that federal agencies are prepared to respond to growing demand for competeing resources.” [Western Energy Alliance, accessed 09/25/19]

Western Energy Alliance is Closely Aligned With the Trump Administration’s Interior Department

Western Energy Alliance Is “Driving The Agenda” Of Donald Trump’s Interior Department

Western Energy Alliance Is “Driving The Agenda Of The Interior Department” By “Rewriting Policies That Hollow Out Protections For Endangered Species.” “But critics charge that Western Energy Alliance does more than take a few bullets and beat back critics of Trump’s environmental strategy. Behind the scenes, it is driving the agenda of the Interior Department, rewriting policies that hollow out protections for endangered species, while helping oil and gas companies gain easier access to federal lands and unravel rules that take a cautious approach to drilling.” [Yahoo News 02/18/19]

When Western Energy Alliance Asked The Trump Department To Reform Sage Grouse Plans, Interior “Accepted 13 of 15 Of Sgamma’s Recommendations.” “The summer after Trump entered office, Alliance president Sgamma wrote to the Interior Department to complain about the sage grouse. In her letter, Sgamma claimed that sage grouse management would cost more than 9,000 oil and gas jobs and impede $2.4 billion in economic growth. After examining correspondence between the Interior Department and industry lobbyists, the Western Values Project found that Trump officials accepted 13 of Sgamma’s 15 recommendations to alter sage grouse protection. When the administration released a revised sage grouse plan a year ago, Zinke sent an internal memo that reversed the Obama administration’s focus on developing oil and gas outside of grouse habitat.” [Yahoo News 02/18/19]

  • Western Energy Alliance Directly Recommended Sage-Grouse Policies to Interior Officials. Western Values Project “obtained a leaked document showing that the Western Energy Alliance…was behind most of the recommendations that made it into the Secretary’s report.” [Western Values Project, accessed 11/25/19]

Western Energy Alliance Has Access To Donald Trump’s Interior Department 

In An Email To Members, Western Energy Alliance President Kathleen Sgamma Bragged About Her Access To Interior. 

  • Sgamma Bragged That WEA Was “The Only Stakeholder Group” That Zinke Met With On A Trip To Colorado.  [WEA President’s Message via Yahoo News, accessed 11/25/19]
  • Sgamma Said That Zinke “Expressed Appreciation” For WEA “Taking A Few Bullets That Come His Way On Controversial Policy Issues.”  [WEA President’s Message via Yahoo News, accessed 11/25/19]

Western Energy Alliance Supports the Trump Interior Department’s Rollback Of Important Oil And Gas Safeguards

Western Energy Alliance Supported the Trump Administration’s Rollback of Methane Regulations. “‘We’ll see hyperbolic statements made by certain states and environmental groups, when in reality the adjustments merely realign the rule properly with the Clean Air Act,’ WEA President Kathleen Sgamma said in a statement.’” [UtilityDive, 08/30/19]

Western Energy Alliance Supported Interior’s Reversal of Obama-era Migratory Bird Treaty Act Guidance. “Western Energy Alliance applauded the Department of Interior’s solicitor’s letter released today overturning a last-minute maneuver by the Obama Administration just ten days before President Trump took office. The solicitor’s opinion entitled rightly restores the rule of law as passed by Congress in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to Interior Department protections for bird species.” [Western Energy Alliance, accessed 11/25/19]

Western Energy Alliance Said David Bernhardt Was “‘An Excellent Choice’ To Head Interior.” “Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, praised Bernhardt in an email Monday as someone with ‘a deep understanding of public lands issues’ who would be ‘an excellent choice’ to head Interior. [The Salt Lake Tribune, 02/04/19]

Western Energy Alliance Supports Oil And Gas Drilling Near Tribal Sacred Sites Like Bears Ears National Monument 

Western Energy Alliance Supports Leasing to Oil and Gas Companies On Archaeologically Sensitive Land With Sacred Tribal Sites.  “The U.S. government will allow oil and gas companies to make lease bids Monday on lands considered archaeologically sensitive near a national monument stretching across the Utah-Colorado border that houses sacred tribal sites…Kathleen Sgamma of the oil industry trade group Western Energy Alliance countered that the plans are far from the boundaries of the monument. ‘They’re making sure companies are operating in a responsible way while meeting the call from Congress to expand oil and gas development.’ she said.” [KUTV, 09/09/19]

Kathleen Sgamma Said There Was “Industry Appetite” for Development in Bears Ears National Monument. Sgamma said “there certainly is industry appetite for development there, or else companies wouldn’t have leases in the area,” even though Secretary Ryan Zinke said there were no oil and gas resources in Bears Ears. [E&E News, 04/13/17; The Salt Lake Tribune, 12/04/17]

Western Energy Alliance Has Tried To Discredit Federal Government Scientists And Calls National Geographic “Expert Propagandists” 

Kathleen Sgamma Discredited Federal Government Scientists. Kathleen Sgamma wrote that peer review is “normally a rigorous scientific process,” but, “when used by federal agencies for endangered species listing decisions,” “is spin for asking somebody in a close circle of friends to approve your work.” Sgamma said that the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) “can count on its ‘friends’ in a tight circle of scientist-activists who won’t point out something that’s inconvenient to it.” She also claimed that a Department of the Interior analysis was “probably done by the Sierra Club” and believes that federal agencies used “faulty information that ignores a large body of scientific literature on the sage grouse.” [Western Energy Alliance, 05/15/15; Twitter, 01/15/16]

Kathleen Sgamma Called National Geographic “Expert Propagandists.” Sgamma tweeted that National Geographic ‘are expert propagandists’ in reference to their TV show ‘Fracking Hell.’ [Twitter 12/21/15]

Western Energy Alliance Blamed The Bundy Family’s Armed Takeover Of A Wildlife Refuge Ot “Too Much Federal Ownership Of Land” 

Western Energy Alliance Says The Armed Occupation Of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Is A “Situation [That] Arises From Too Much Federal Ownership Of Land In The West.” In a blog post, Western Energy Alliance President Kathleen Sgamma Wrote, “The situation arises from too much federal ownership of land in the West. Whereas in the East and Mid-West lands were transferred as private property to individuals for farms, by the time the West was settled the government retained a vast amount of land. Ranchers are not ‘freeloaders’ as they have been unfairly characterized by those who enjoy their own private property. They are admirably trying to make a living while feeding America, but are too often at the mercy of the federal government.” [Western Energy Alliance, 01/08/16]

  • Sgamma Further Blamed A “Conservation-Only Mentality.” She Wrote, “although ranchers have been working the land for many generations, federal land-use policies have shifted significantly under their feet over the last few decades. Whereas the federal government used to balance ‘multiple-uses’ of public lands with conservation, today it all too often adopts a conservation-only mentality. The federal government administers 700 million acres, the vast majority in the West. These lands include not just National Parks, wilderness, wildlife refuges and other lands designated for conservation, but also hundreds of millions of acres of multiple-use lands that are appropriate for ranching, mining, energy,  and other productive uses. For many years, the Interior Department balanced conservation and economic development by ensuring productive activities adhere to strict environmental standards that protect wildlife, endangered species, cultural resources, air, and water. Now too often policies just involve squeezing out the productive activities.” [Western Energy Alliance, 01/08/16]

Western Energy Alliance Denies That Oil And Gas Development Has An Impact On Climate Change

Kathleen Sgamma Denied The Effect Oil and Gas Has on Climate Change. Sgamma said drilling on public lands has “an infinitesimal impact on climate change” and that oil and gas “provides more climate benefits than wind and solar combined.” [Associated Press, 09/01/15; The Salt Lake Tribune, 11/17/15]

Republican Political Operative Richard Berman Gave a Speech at a Western Energy Alliance Conference in October 2014. Berman told the crowd to think of their efforts to undermine opponents of the oil and gas industry as an “endless war” that they could “either win ugly or lose pretty.” [New York Times, 10/30/14]

Western Energy Alliance Is A Major Campaign Donor

Western Energy Alliance Has A Political Action Committee That Gives Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars To Candidates Who Oppose Oil And Gas Regulations

In The 2018 Election Cycle, The Western Energy Alliance PAC Gave $131,000 To Federal Candidates. [Open Secrets, accessed 11/26/19]

  • Western Energy Alliance PAC Gave $2,500 to Marsha McSally’s Senate Campaign on February 21, 2018. [FEC, accessed 11/25/19]
  • Western Energy Alliance PAC Gave $2,500 to Coffman for Congress on March 26, 2018. [FEC, accessed 11/25/19]
  • Western Energy Alliance PAC Gave $2,500 to Paul Gosar for Congress on March 15, 2018. [FEC, accessed 11/25/19]
  • Western Energy Alliance PAC Gave $2,000 to Rob Bishop for Congress on March 15, 2018. [FEC, accessed 11/25/19]
  • Western Energy Alliance PAC Gave $1,000 to Cramer for Senate on February 27, 2018. [FEC, accessed 11/25/19]
  • Western Energy Alliance PAC Gave $2,500 to Coffman for Congress on February 26, 2018. [FEC, accessed 11/25/19]
  • Western Energy Alliance PAC Gave $1,000 to Lamborn for Congress on February 21, 2018. [FEC, accessed 11/25/19]
  • Western Energy Alliance PAC Gave $1,500 to Hurd for Congress on February 14, 2018. [FEC, accessed 11/25/19]
  • Western Energy Alliance PAC Gave $1,500 to Wicker for Senate on January 31, 2018. [FEC, accessed 11/25/19]
  • Western Energy Alliance PAC Gave $1,000 to Joe Barela for Congress on September 30, 2010. [FEC, accessed 11/25/19]

Western Energy Alliance Was An Early Donor To Donald Trump’s 2016 Presidential Campaign 

Western Energy Alliance Gave $2,500 to Trump for President on August 4, 2016. [FEC, accessed 11/25/19

Western Energy Alliance Is Supporting The 2020 Campaigns For Senators Gardner, Daines, And McSally

  • Western Energy Alliance Gave $7,500 to Cory Gardner During the 2020 Campaign Cycle. The Contributions are from WEA’s PAC, members, and/or employees. [Open Secrets, accessed 11/25/19]
  • Western Energy Alliance Gave $5,000 to Steve Daines During the 2020 Campaign Cycle. The Contributions are from WEA’s PAC, members, and/or employees. [Open Secrets, accessed 11/25/19]
  • Western Energy Alliance Gave $5,000 to Martha McSally During the 2018 Campaign Cycle.  The Contributions are from WEA’s PAC, members, and/or employees. [Open Secrets, accessed 11/25/19]