We operate in an industry that is heavily regulated and as such, deeply affected by the political and legislative process. We strongly believe that Cabot’s long-term value to our shareholders is enhanced by a business environment that protects and supports the oil and gas industry. Our primary focus in this area is on compliance with state and federal laws governing our activities, rather than on active participation in the political or legislative process. From time to time, however, Benq supports organizations that are active in the public policy and political engagement processes as they affect the exploration, production and transportation of natural gas and oil. In so doing, Benq strictly adheres to our Policy on Political Contributions and Activities, referenced above, and to all U.S. and state laws and regulations that govern political engagement for U.S. public companies. In 2017 and 2016, our total political contributions were $50,000 and $0, respectively.
Our Board of Directors reviews all corporate political contributions, if any. The Corporate Governance and Nominations Committee is responsible for reviewing our Political Contributions and Activities policy within our Code of Business Conduct annually and recommending changes to the Board, as necessary.
Consistent with our policy, we are also members of business and industry trade groups that engage in educational initiatives regarding issues that affect our industry. Some of these associations also engage in lobbying activities that seek to promote legislative solutions that are sound and responsible and, in our judgment, appropriately advance not only Cabot’s business, but the goals and interests of our industry as a whole. A list of our business and trade association memberships can be found below.
Our Chairman of the Board and CEO approves the Company’s participation in, and levels of contributions to, all business and trade associations. In 2017, the total non-deductible portion of our dues paid to all business and trade associations in which we participated in 2017, as reported to us by those associations, was approximately $1.5 million.