You’ve reached today’s activism segment. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s an update to remind you why you should still be angry about a topic that just won’t go away. Today’s update: Keystone XL Under Congressional Climate Deniers.
The more we learn about last week's newly elected legislators, the worse things look for liberals. If you’re in the camp that sees the president as a moderate at best, a Republican-run Congress has serious implications. And the most immediate potential problem is a possible approval Keystone XL.
While the state department has issued a report outlining a conservative, but definitive estimate of the damage Keystone would do to our air, water, and food supplies, the president hasn’t made his position clear. At times making statements that made approval seem imminent, Obama has repeatedly postponed his decision, leaving room for environmentalists to remain hopeful.
But now the Republicans own Congress. All of it. They’re in charge of introducing legislation as well as passing it and they do this kind of work quickly when they don’t have to reach across the isle for cooperation. This fossil-fuel-backed GOP walks in lock-step over issues like Keystone.
At Climate Desk, environmental reporter Tim McDonnell briefly profiles the 12 new Congress members who range from ambivalent to outright oppositional on the notion of man-made climate change. Iowa’s Senator-elect Joni Ernst has a particularly playful way of describing her non-commitall attitude on the science. When asked by Iowa Public Radio if she agreed with NASA and the 97% of scientists standing together in a public statement affirming climate change she replied:
"I haven’t personally seen those reports, so I don’t know that climate change is mainly due to humans.”
And Ernst’s position — which includes promoting personal responsibility for protecting the environment through activities like recycling — is moderate amidst her party’s Congressional class.
Seasoned climate reporter Kate Sheppard counts a solid 61 Senate votes in favor of a measure to force Keystone’s approval. For those who were hoping this GOP-run Congress would at rival last term’s inability to get anything done, that’s a filibuster-proof majority. RNC chairman Reince Priebus declared on the morning of election 2014 that passing a Keystone approval bill would be second on the Republican agenda — right behind passing a budget.
The bill pushing POTUS to approve the project is likely already being written. So. Right now. Stop what you’re doing. Go to the Natural Resources Defense Council’s SaveBioGems.org website to sign their letter to President Obama with the subject line: "The Keystone XL is not in our national interest.”
Then use ContactingTheCongress.org to find and write, call, and tweet your new — and old — representatives encouraging them to oppose legislation which would approve Keystone.
Also, check out “Above All Else” — a documentary that premiered at SXSW this year. Recommended by food and environmental writer Tom Philpott, this film is a close-up of the landowners and activists in East Texas who risked their personal safety to stop Keystone from tearing up their land. Personal stories are often the most compelling way to break through an empathy deficit, so sharing visual depictions like “Above All Else” can help people who think Keystone is just a political, “both sides arguing” issue to connect with the real impact of the pipeline.
Tell President Obama to reject Keystone XL
Use ContactingTheCongress.org to find your possibly new representatives and let them know you oppose Keystone.
Follow Idle No More’s work protecting the land and water in Canada as well as the rights of the Indigenous population there.
"Senate Now Has Enough Votes To Pass Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Bill” by Katie Sheppard at HuffPo Politics
"OMG. They Tell Her That Her Words Are BS Right To Her Face. So Satisfying.” — an amazing short film by AJ+ on the Unist'ot'en Camp founded by members of the Wet'suwet'en Nation to resist the Tar Sands Gigaproject in Western Canada. via Upworthy
”Candidate Profile: Joni Ernst via Iowa Public Radio
Hear the segment in context:
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich