Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bill Nelson sides with Big Oil in vote for Keystone XL

Sen. Bill Nelson at Sierra Club event on BP Gulf Oil Disaster  
Last Friday, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) sided with Big Oil and voted to support the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. 
I was sorely disappointed by this vote, particularly because Nelson has been a true ally and strong champion on so many of the issues near and dear to the Sierra Club's heart.

Even during last Friday's so-called "vote-a-rama" on the 100-plus amendments to the Senate budget resolution, Senator Nelson stuck with us on some key votes! 
He voted the right way on an amendment that would've undermined the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to issues climate pollution standards, he voted the right way on an amendment that would've undermined EPA's recent mercury and air toxics standard for power plants, and he even voted in support of a carbon tax! 

Senator Nelson has been our top leader in the Senate against expanded oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and he has joined Sierra Club in demanding that BP fully pay the cost of restoring the Gulf and its coastal communities following the Deepwater Horizon disaster. We also know Senator Nelson's heart is in the right place, and that he actually wants to take action to address climate change -- which is why it's so shocking he decided to join with some of Big Oil's best friends in the Senate and vote to support Keystone XL.

If approved, Keystone XL would carry 830,000 barrels a day of the world's dirtiest fuel over the Canadian border, across thousands of U.S. rivers and streams, so that it could eventually be delivered to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Most of that product would then be exported to other countries.

You may have heard some argue that it's no big deal; tar sands will be developed anyway. Well, that's not the case. So far, Canadians have put their foot down to these thousand-mile-plus pipelines to carry this toxic sludge to their coasts, so the industry is intent on gaining access to our coasts. And right now, Keystone XL is the best shot it has. Keystone XL is intended to get the tar sands industry's dirty oil onto the international market, allowing it to greatly expand its polluting industry.

As a climate champion, Senator Nelson should know better than to side with Big Oil on an amendment like this. Although President Obama is still the ultimate decision-maker on Keystone XL, he needs the support of senators like Nelson.

Will you call Senator Nelson today at 202-224-5274 to ask him to change his stance and oppose the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline?
-- Frank Jackalone, Sierra Club Florida


Malagodi said...

Oy! If Bill Nelson has been "our top leader in the Senate", this may be illustrative of why a fundamental decoupling of the wider environmental movement from the Democratic Party is so critical.

It is not leadership to make comfortable, no-risk votes like supporting the EPA on nutrient and mercury standards. Nor is it leadership to do what everyone in the rank and file of the Democratic Party expects regarding Gulf oil drilling expansion, particularly on the wake of the BP explosion. Further, Senator Nelson's confused actions over the Cuban/Chinese drilling in the Florida Straits was an embarrassment.

His vote on Keystone was nothing short of shameful. It is astonishing that this former astronaut, who has seen the beauty, fragility and integrity of planet as one whole, inseparable unit, would -no could- vote for Keystone in the face of all the science and all the common sense calling for its rejection.

If this is the "top leadership" offered by the Democratic Party, some other leadership is desperately needed.

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