Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 3 Share on Facebook 2 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 3 (8 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   1 comment

OpEdNews Op Eds

Keystone XL: Time for the Senate to Show Some Courage

By       Message Bill McKibben     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Well Said 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 2/11/12

Author 50710
Become a Fan
  (14 fans)
- Advertisement -
Crossposted at The Huffington Post

At least for now, the battle over the Keystone Pipeline -- the most visible environmental cause in many years -- has moved from the scarred boreal forest of Alberta and the Sand Hills of Nebraska to the halls of Congress. Or rather, it's moved to send button on your email application, because that's the best way we've got right now to stiffen the spines of our Senators.

Beginning at noon on Monday, the progressive community will focus for 24 solid hours on the Keystone battle. We'll try to generate half a million emails to the Senate -- the most concentrated burst of environmental advocacy this millennium. We'll know if it works if the Democrats who control the chamber do one simple thing: back their president.

Barack Obama did the brave thing. He stood up to the American Petroleum Institute (a.k.a. big oil) and their explicit threat to exact 'huge political consequences' unless he granted Keystone an immediate permit. And the GOP did the expected thing -- all along they've voted with near unanimity to speed up the pipeline. That's par for the course from a party awash in oily money -- a party whose leaders vie to denounce global warming as a hoax, and whose current frontrunner believes that thanks to the EPA Americans are living through 'a reign of environmental terror.'

But the Senate is in the hands of a Democratic majority, whose leader Harry Reid has said the right things about Keystone -- namely that the tarsands it connects to are an "unsustainable supply of dirty and polluting oil." These Democrats know that the biggest labor unions in the country are backing the president, and they know that every environmental group is firm in its opposition, from the corporate friendly Environmental Defense Fund to the corporate unfriendly Rainforest Action Network. And yet these Senators still wobble -- we keep hearing rumors that one or another of them will cut a deal with the oil industry.

In fact, one already has. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, has said he'll vote for Keystone. And what do you know -- he's taken more money from the fossil fuel industry than any other Democrat in the chamber. Many of the rest of the Democrats have taken industry money too, but usually far less than the Republicans. My guess is that they actually want to do the right thing, but they're scared -- scared that the oil industry will run ads against them at election time, scared that no one will come to their defense. In a way it's kind of sad to see Senators living in fear, but that's how it works.

And so to the keyboards. We've been to jail, we've marched on Washington; this week it's pixels and keystrokes. This electronic blitz is an effort to show Congress that there's support out there for doing the right thing -- that the American people know the stakes and that they want to see a little bit of the president's courage on this issue reflected in the Senate. This Congress is clearly not going to solve global warming -- no one expects Harry Reid to work miracles, converting implacable Republican opponents. But they can clearly hold the line if they want to. Maybe a letter or two -- or half a million all at once -- will nerve them up.

- Advertisement -

 

Follow Bill McKibben on Twitter: www.twitter.com/billmckibben

- Advertisement -

 

Well Said 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

Bill McKibben is the author of a dozen books, including The End of Nature and Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future. A former staff writer for The New Yorker, he writes regularly for Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, and The (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Idle No More, Think Occupy With Deeper Roots

Global Warming's Terrifying New Math

Why the Planet Is Happy That Bernie Sanders Is Running for President

Climate fight won't wait for Paris: vive la resistance

The Guardian Divests $1.2 Billion Fund From Fossil Fuels

Clinton's Environmental Failure