Democratic Lousiana Sen. Mary Landrieu is campaigning as the energy industry’s best advocate in Washington, but one of her liberal friends in the Senate said she has other plans in mind.
At an energy panel hosted by Politico yesterday, Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said Landrieu’s probable ascension to chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee puts the coal and oil folks in a “very dangerous position.”
When Landrieu becomes chair of the committee, the game is up, Whitehouse said.
“That’s a game that runs out and when it runs out, if you’ve never been decent along the way, then payback is a tough thing,” he said, according to Politico.
Whitehouse said it’s because Landrieu has a good working relationship with the industry that she can be the one to broker the industry and the committee through the “very dangerous position” it’s in. Landrieu has often backed the energy industry, including telling President Obama in 2009, “keep your hands off the oil and gas industry.”
“His point about Senator Landrieu was that she has a lot of credibility with the industry and could potentially be helpful in tempering some of their more extreme positions,” said Whitehouse spokesman Seth Larson.
Whitehouse is one of Landrieu’s key allies in the senate, having received thousands of dollars from her leadership political action committee, JazzPAC.
But his comments could create a major political headache for Landrieu. She has has specifically touted her energy record in her campaign.
“I’m indispensable,” she told the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper in April, noting that her pull in the Senate would “secure for Louisiana a significant and reliable string of revenue.”
Landrieu has recently come under fire for using her leadership PAC to dole out cash to some of the most liberal members of the Senate.
His full remarks, as reported by Politico Pro:
“The concern I have is that industry has gotten into such a reckless, selfish and bullying posture politically, that you can’t actually have discussions about things with them,” Whitehouse said today during an energy panel hosted by POLITICO. “The industry, the coal and the oil folks, are in such a state of denial about climate that and they feel they’ve got enough clout in Congress that they can just stonewall everything. And actually, they prove to our benefit that somebody like Mary Landrieu can broker what is now I think a very dangerous position frankly for the coal and oil industry.
“That’s a game that runs out and when it runs out, if you’ve never been decent along the way, then payback is a tough thing,” he said.