12/04/2006 07:36 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

An Energy Agenda for a Newly Energized Congress (Part III)- Curbing Oil's Influence

The current influence of the oil industry on our government, the executive branch, Congress, and friendly court jurisdictions has permitted the oil industry to call the shots on regulation, royalty payments, access to public lands and on. Our government has become so wedded to oil's purported needs at the expense of the national interest that it is well past time that steps be taken to right this gross imbalance.

There is an urgent need to shine a bright light on the flow of money from the oil industry and those closely affiliated with its interests, to the campaigns of individual members of Congress and the executive branch. There needs be an real time alert system in place, informing the public of all contacts by 'K' Street oil lobbyists, and other interested parties, with the Department of the Interior (see "The Interior Department Plays Patsy to the Oil and Gas Industry" 11.03.06) and the Department of Energy and pertinent members of government.

Our constitution protects the right to petition government. However, when the petitioners' goals and influence immeasurably exceeds the influence as well as the stake of the electorate, as is now the case, the electorate certainly has the right to ask for full, timely, and crystal clear accounting of the attempts at impacting policy and the exercise of money power at all levels of government.

This is certainly the case with the millions upon millions of dollars the oil industry funnels into political campaigns together with their lobbying efforts to gain access and to affect everything from the broad outlines of national energy policy to obscure tax code changes, not to speak of their stealth hand on our foreign policy.

Certainly one of the lessons that should have been learned from the elections is the electorate's reminder to government that it is in the employ of the people and no longer in the employ of special interests. Has the lesson been learned? How the newly elected Congress acts on this issue will begin to tell the tale.