The new Republican-controlled Senate immediately started paying back their largest campaign donors – the oil companies – by pushing for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. Ironically, the beneficiaries of Keystone are mainly Canadian companies, but with our new rules that allow political contributions to remain completely anonymous, it is no surprise that there would be many large donors who are not Americans at all (or even American companies). Shouldn’t this worry us?
Passing Keystone requires the strange ritual of introducing amendments, many of which have nothing to do with the pipeline at all. For example, an amendment that would prohibit EPA enforcement officials from carrying guns (so much for being pro-gun!). Or an amendment to block Obama’s historic agreement with China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At least those are somewhat energy related. But what about the amendment that blocks the designation of any more national monuments?
Then, things turned even more ironic. The Senate voted on an amendment on whether climate change “is real and not a hoax.” This was mainly for show, as even most Republicans are willing to admit that the climate is changing. Indeed, only one (Roger Wicker, who apparently doesn’t believe in science; can you guess his party affiliation?) voted no.
Then Brian Schatz (again, can you guess his party affiliation?) introduced an amendment that doubled down on the last one, adding that human activity was a significant contributor to the previously admitted climate change. This time, the vote changed dramatically, and the Senate split right down the middle with 49 GOP senators voting against the new amendment. Wired magazine published a list showing the vote of every Senator. If one of your senators voted no, that means they don’t believe that humans have anything to do with global warming. Feel free to give them some feedback.