[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/04/landriou.jpg caption="Mary Landrieu avoided saying whether she would return donations from BP on Tuesday."]Washington (CNN) - Despite receiving $28,200 in campaign donations from BP over the last 10 years, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, avoided saying Tuesday whether she will return contributions from the energy giant in the wake of the company's devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Landrieu was asked in an interview on CNN's "John King, USA" if she should return the money given her oversight role on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee.
"I'm not trying to be [a] watchdog for BP," Landrieu said. "I am trying to be a good senator for this country and for Louisiana, and to bring a balance to our energy policy, which is protecting our coast, fighting for energy security and a clean environment."
Over the past decade, Landrieu has received nearly $753,000 from the oil and gas industry, according to OpenSecrets.org, a non-partisan website that follows the “influence of money on U.S. politics.”
The Democrat dismissed claims that the energy industry is poorly regulated.
"I don't believe that's a fair criticism," she told King. "I think that this industry has very tight regulations and good regulations."
Landrieu said it would be "absolutely wrong" to shut down offshore drilling completely. Such a move, she argued, would send companies elsewhere and put the oil and gas companies under foreign jurisdictions with looser regulations.
"That's not going to do anything to clean our environment, that's not going do anything to create jobs, we will lose jobs, and it's not going to do anything to make America energy independent," she said.
UPDATED CORRECTION: The initial version of this story inaccurately reported that Landrieu received $1.8 million in contributions from BP. CNN regrets the error.