‘Senate’s Big Oil Benefactors’ Slammed for Keystone XL Vote

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Kxl Pipeline (Photo: 350.org via Flickr / Creative Commons License)

Common Dreams

10 KXL amendment co-sponsors took $8 million from fossil fuel industry

– Jacob Chamberlain and Jon Queally, staff writers

In a 62-37 vote late Friday, the US Senate passed a non-binding amendment calling for the approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Environmental groups and climate activists were quick to condemn the vote, but said the “symbolic vote” was valuable because it revealed which members of the Senate have received the message on the seriousness posed by climate change and which continue to bend to the demands of industry lobbyists.

A post-vote analysis by Oil Change International, in fact, revealed that supporters of the amendment “received 3.5 times more in campaign contributions from fossil fuel interests” than those who voted against it. In total, the researchers found that supporters took an average of $499,648 from the industry before voting for the pipeline, for a total of $30,978,153.

“Today’s vote presents yet another reason why Congress is less popular than root canals,” said the group’s campaign director David Turnbull. “Every single effort from Congress to influence the Keystone XL pipeline decision has been backed by millions in dirty energy money, and today’s was no different. The vote today was nothing more than a 31 million dollar sideshow whose sole purpose was to kiss the rings of the Senate’s Big Oil benefactors.”

Speaking on behalf of 350.org, the group’s co-founder Bill McKibben said: “The fossil fuel industry asked the Senate to approve Keystone XL, but ordinary people around the country pushed back—our ‘leaders’ ended up taking a  meaningless vote instead, and giving us more months to convince the president not to sign off on this boondoggle.”

Sierra Club’s executive director Michael Brune also responded to the Senate vote by saying, “Tar sands pipelines have no place in the debate over the federal budget and Congress has no business rubber stamping dangerous, unnecessary Big Oil projects. This vague, nonbinding resolution does nothing but show how eager these Senators are to please their Big Oil masters.”

McKibben indicated the vote was not a surprise, but also that the real momentum remained with those opposing the project. “Everything that happens in DC happens ugly, and this is no exception,” he said, “but it’s been beautiful to watch people rallying around the continent.”

McKibben’s group promised that their fight against the tar sands pipeline would continue and that the weeks ahead would find them mobilizing their supporters across the country “to hold Senators who sided with Big Oil and voted for Keystone XL accountable.”

“It’s high time for President Obama to publicly reject industry corruption of our politics and the toxic Keystone XL Pipeline,” concluded Turnbull.

Here’s the roll call from the vote (Alphabetical by Senator Name):

Alexander (R-TN), Yea
Ayotte (R-NH), Yea
Baldwin (D-WI), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Yea
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Begich (D-AK), Yea
Bennet (D-CO), Yea
Blumenthal (D-CT), Nay
Blunt (R-MO), Yea
Boozman (R-AR), Yea
Boxer (D-CA), Nay
Brown (D-OH), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Yea
Cantwell (D-WA), Nay
Cardin (D-MD), Nay
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Yea
Coats (R-IN), Yea
Coburn (R-OK), Yea
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Coons (D-DE), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Yea
Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
Cowan (D-MA), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Yea
Cruz (R-TX), Yea
Donnelly (D-IN), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Nay
Enzi (R-WY), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Nay
Fischer (R-NE), Yea
Flake (R-AZ), Yea    Franken (D-MN), Nay
Gillibrand (D-NY), Nay
Graham (R-SC), Yea
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Hagan (D-NC), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Heinrich (D-NM), Nay
Heitkamp (D-ND), Yea
Heller (R-NV), Yea
Hirono (D-HI), Nay
Hoeven (R-ND), Yea
Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Johanns (R-NE), Yea
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Johnson (R-WI), Yea
Kaine (D-VA), Nay
King (I-ME), Nay
Kirk (R-IL), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Nay
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Not Voting
Leahy (D-VT), Nay
Lee (R-UT), Yea
Levin (D-MI), Nay
Manchin (D-WV), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Yea
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Menendez (D-NJ), Nay
Merkley (D-OR), Nay
Mikulski (D-MD), Nay
Moran (R-KS), Yea    Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murphy (D-CT), Nay
Murray (D-WA), Nay
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Paul (R-KY), Yea
Portman (R-OH), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Nay
Reid (D-NV), Nay
Risch (R-ID), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Nay
Rubio (R-FL), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Schatz (D-HI), Nay
Schumer (D-NY), Nay
Scott (R-SC), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Yea
Shaheen (D-NH), Nay
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Yea
Toomey (R-PA), Yea
Udall (D-CO), Nay
Udall (D-NM), Nay
Vitter (R-LA), Yea
Warner (D-VA), Yea
Warren (D-MA), Nay
Whitehouse (D-RI), Nay
Wicker (R-MS), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Nay