Sunday, November 23, 2014

183.1 - Good News: Keystone XL on hold

Good News: Keystone XL on hold

The Keystone XL pipeline, the one intended to carry tar sands - about the dirtiest, most polluting source of oil there is - from Canada to Texas so it could be sold overseas, and against which I have spoken here a number of time, is still on hold.

It looked for a while like it might not be. The House, striving mightily to prove that is it reactionary, not merely right-wing, easily passed a bill to move the pipeline forward. For a time it looked like the Senate would follow suit. All because of Mary Landrieu.

Mary Landrieu is the Democratic senator from Louisiana. She is facing a runoff election on December 6 which she is widely expected to lose, as her opponent is, and has consistently been, ahead in the opinion polls. In an attempt to make herself look good in Louisiana, she co-sponsored the pro-pipeline bill in the Senate, even though the section of the pipeline involved has nothing to do with her state.

So, proving yet again that partisanship outweighs policy and ego trumps the environment, the Senate Dimcratic leadership urged members of their caucus to vote for her bill just to slightly improve her dim chances of keeping her seat - even though, even if she did, the GOPpers would still hold the majority. The attitude seemed to be "She's a colleague! A member of our insular elite! No price to the environment is too great to help her!"

The hard reality of the Senate is that it still takes a filibuster-proof 60 votes to pass anything. A few days before the vote, she was assured of 59.  And when the vote came on Tuesday afternoon, that's what she got: 59. Those days of politicking and pressure from the party leadership failed to move one more member.

That is good news.

It's only temporary, though: The newly-GOPper-ruled Senate will take the pipeline up again when Congress reconvenes in January and it will very probably get through. Which means the focus will be - as in fact is has been all along - on Barack Obama, who will finally have to decide if all his environmental talk is anything more than that. Frankly, I'm not convinced it is - but I'm not convinced it's not, either. So we need to keep up the pressure.

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