Skip to content


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.



  1. Ralph wrote:

    With all the wailing and gnashing of teeth coming out of the Republican camp, you’d think this was a life or death element of our national energy policy and the first pipeline coming out of Canada, not the spider’s web of pipeline networks that already exists! The Daily Show had a recent piece on this topic with its own unique perspective.

    Even more ironic, that dirty shale oil won’t even be refined for domestic consumption, but shipped abroad to other markets, or for that matter won’t create that many domestic jobs for any length of time.

    As usual in such matters, the answer can be found by following the money. Oh, that’s right, we can’t. It’s anonymous.

    Best Congress money can buy.

    Monday, January 26, 2015 at 8:22 am | Permalink
  2. Dave TN wrote:

    Another bit of irony is that Al Frankin introduced an amendment to require the pipeline to built solely from American made steel but the Republiecans shot it down. So much for the job creators.

    Monday, January 26, 2015 at 10:12 am | Permalink
  3. jonr wrote:

    On the other hand, Kelly Ayotte (R – NH), susan Collins (R – ME), Lindsey Graham (LINDSEY GRAHAM!!) (R – SC) and Mark Kirk (R – IL) should be congratulated for having the courage to vote Pro-Science! That had to have been hard, when everybody else in your party is voting the other way.

    Franken’s amendment was excellent, by the way… and telling.

    Monday, January 26, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink
  4. Ralph wrote:

    It must really bunch their shorts that gasoline is now around $2/gal, which takes a lot of wind out of their sails trying to argue the pipeline is really needed for energy security (regardless that it’d be shipped abroad anyway).

    Anyone care to guess where the Kock Bros. come down on this issue (and ergo their lackeys in Congress or running in ’16)?

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 9:17 am | Permalink