Patton Boggs has started lobbying for an oil services company that became a household name during the George W. Bush administration.
Halliburton Co., which made headlines for its lucrative contracts during the Iraq War and for its role in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, hired Patton to advocate for the Preserving Jobs in the Oilfield Act, according to lobbying registration paperwork filed with Congress on Wednesday.
The legislation would scrap U.S. Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration guidance that says drivers who haul sand, water and other materials at well sites can't exclude their waiting time from the maximum amount of hours they are allowed to work. Currently, only specially trained drivers who operate vehicles designed to service wells can omit waiting time from their on-duty time.
Patton partner Jeffrey Turner, public policy consultant Carolina Mederos and associate Jared Fleisher are handling the account. Turner is the chairman of Patton's public policy and administrative and regulatory department. Mederos leads the firm's transportation, infrastructure and federal funding practice.
Johnny Cathey of the fleet safety and compliance division of Halliburton Energy Services Inc. wrote a letter to the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration in August 2012 saying the agency should rescind its guidance.
"Halliburton believes the FMCSA inadvertently issued the regulatory guidance without a full comprehension of the operations of [the] oil and natural gas services industry," he wrote.
Halliburton last year spent $260,000 on federal lobbying, according to congressional records. For its advocacy efforts, the company used its own staffers, as well as lobbyists from Jackson Lewis, Beveridge & Diamond and Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford.
In 2012, Halliburton lobbied on several bills, including legislation designed to facilitate drilling permits in the Gulf following the 2010 blowout of the BP PLC well. The company cemented the well that caused the spill.
Prior to 2010, Halliburton faced criticism for multi-billion dollar contracts it received to provide logistical support to the U.S. military in Iraq when the company's former chairman and chief executive officer, Dick Cheney, was vice president. Then-Halliburton engineering and construction subsidiary KBR was the biggest government contractor in Iraq during the war.