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Big Oil's ‘Rock Star’ in Congress Runs Rig Tours to Win Votes

  • As Republican whip, Steve Scalise evangelizes for industry
  • Louisianan enlists other lawmakers with offshore oil tours
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise listens during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on July 28, 2015.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise listens during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on July 28, 2015.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
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Congressman Steve Scalise leaned over the railing of the Chevron Corp. oil platform floating in inky blue waters 250 miles off the Louisiana coast and marveled to a cluster of lawmakers that it produces 75,000 barrels of crude every day.

Scalise is one of the oil industry’s busiest tour guides in Congress. Eight times, he’s lured colleagues onto helicopters bound for remote drilling rigs and production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. His motive: to persuade even Democrats to overturn Obama administration rules that will add costs to offshore drilling.