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Stefani Carter: Married to the gas mob

April 30, 2011

For Immediate release
NCTCA – North Central Texas
Communities Alliance

Freshman Member of Energy Oversight Committee Received $59,000 in Campaign Contributions from Oil and Gas Interests
Questions regarding conflict of interest remain unresolved

(Austin, Texas) – State Rep. Stephani Carter received $58,850 in contributions from oil and gas interests for her successful campaign to win a seat in the Texas House of Representatives last year. A remarkable amount for a new member, the contributions came from an array of individuals employed by energy companies, political action committees affiliated with oil and gas interests, and energy industry groups.

Fortunately for the oil and gas industry, Representative Carter was appointed to serve on the House Energy Resources Committee — the committee with oversight over the $186 billion oil and gas industry in Texas.

Rep. Carter received more campaign contributions from oil and gas interests than any other member of the Energy Resources Committee. Rep. Carter’s campaign contributions place her in the top tier of beneficiaries of oil and gas largesse, having received the 8th highest amount of any member of the Texas House of Representatives.

According to data compiled by Texans for Public Justice, the contributions include:

• $27,000 from the President of Chief Oil and Gas, LLC
• $5,000 from the Texas Oil and Gas Association
• $5,000 from the Chair of the Belmont Oil and Gas Corporation
• $5,000 from the Chairman of the Mewbourne Oil Company
• $1,000 from an employee of Five Star Energy Co. LLC
• $500 from the Occidental Petroleum PAC

It is important to note that Chief Oil and Gas, the top and very large contributor to
Rep. Carter’s campaign, is positioning their company to enter the Dallas County area
for natural/ shale gas drilling.

The donation from the Texas Oil and Gas Association came less than one month before the election on November 2, 2010.

The Energy Resources Committee has considered 57 pieces of legislation this session dealing with various aspects of the regulation of the energy industry in Texas, including bills to:

• expand renewable energy production in the state,
• increase pipeline safety standards,
• increase public awareness of oil and gas drilling,
• expand municipal regulation of natural gas pipelines,
• require disclosure of hydraulic fracturing fluids,
• incentivize solar energy production at public schools, and
• limit regulation of harmful emissions from oil and gas facilities

Rep. Carter has not voted for a single bill opposed by The Texas Oil and Gas Association or the Texas Pipeline Association, both major oil and gas trade associations and contributors to her campaign. Such a voting record raises serious questions about conflicts of interest in decisions regarding legislation addressing these issues of such importance to Texans.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 3, 2011 10:33 am

    Republicans always tell you how they oppose Big Government and favor giving power back to The People. But, that is all rhetoric, and is rarely backed up with actions that do what they claim to support.

    Stefani Carter is promoting HB 3105, which would strip local control and decision making regarding natural gas well drilling and give it to state government regulators who are not answerable to the citizens. This is a direct assault on the very principle of smaller government and more local control of our lives, health and safety.

    Stefani Carter is bought and paid for by Big Oil and Gas. She is their lapdog, put in the Texas House for the purpose of making certain that natural gas drilling can proceed without interference regardless of the harm it brings to people, animals and the environment.

    We need to demand that either our Texas Attorney General or the US Attorney General starts investigating and prosecuting Stefani Carter for her unethical conflict of interest in taking huge campaign contributions from oil and gas companies, and then voting in the Texas House according to the dictates of those contributors.

    Stefani Carter does NOT represent the best interest of her constituents – she represents the best interest of her campaign contributors at the expense of those she is supposed to represent in the Legislature, and it is time for that to cease – NOW!

  2. alsoconcerned permalink
    May 7, 2011 1:36 am

    If she received contributions from energy industry before she was elected, and she was appointed to energy oversight after she was elected, so what?

    While I don’t like the bill she supported, I do LOVE the bill she voted for to force rig operators and drillers to disclose the chemicals in their hydraulic fracturing. The oil and gas industry FOUGHT this bill. I am proud she stood up to them.

    I heard a rumor from Austin that the author of the bill written about in this story, Rep. Lon Burnam, tried to blackmail her. I read or heard that Lon Burnam told her if she did not vote for his bill he was going to put out information on her to the news media. Lon Burnam is an unethical crook. I don’t think he is any better than the oil and gas industry.

    • concerned64 permalink
      May 7, 2011 6:41 am

      You must be referring to H.B. 3328 which allows industry to claim transparency without being transparent.

      That’s because Keffer would allow industry to broadly claim many of their hydraulic fracturing toxics as “trade secrets.” Adding insult to injury, water users and landowners would be unable to challenge these industry “secret” claims.

      In short, the trade secrecy provisions would contravene the ostensible purpose of the bill — informing the public about potential risks from drilling toxics.

      Even Wyoming is doing better than that for landowners and water users. In Wyoming, the industry trade secrecy claims are left to the discretion of the regulator. So they’re subject to appeal and petition just like any other action of the agency.

      H.B. 3328 may originate intending to aid the cause of disclosure, but in the end what it really does is enshrine in Texas state law the drilling industry’s penchant for secrecy.

      It’s all smoke and mirrors.

  3. concerned64 permalink
    May 13, 2011 4:56 pm

    Lon Burnam is far from being crooked. He has fought for years trying to get the Barnett Shale to clean the environment. If there were more government officials like Lon, we would all be breathing cleaner air. Unlike Stefani Carter, who has lied about her resume, could not get her own law firm to endorse her, threw mud on her opponent Carol Kent, and used her ‘thugs’ to intimidate voters…..the list goes on. This state representative has so little integrity that she could not even get the Dallas Morning News to endorse her campaign. This HB 3328 that is currently in motion is not what people think it is. It is NOT the strongest in the nation. Wyoming has the strongest legislation to reveal chemicals used in fracking. Her position on the Energy Resource Committee is just another way the governor likes to stack the deck in his favor rather than the citizens of Texas. At this point, it may be time to move out while you can.

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