In the ongoing saga that is the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, it’s clear that supporters of the dangerous project are getting anxious. Perhaps they’re seeing the writing on the wall that this project is nowhere near a sure thing, thanks to themassive resistance to the pipeline, the scientists throwing their weight in opposition to it, and the new studies out showing even greater negative effects if built.
Or perhaps they’re looking ahead to the wave of people planning to descend upon DC in opposition to the pipeline and in favor of strong climate action on the 17th of February.
In the latest attempt to influence the Obama administration, supporters of the project in the Senate have sent a new letter urging the President to approve the problematic pipeline.
This shouldn’t actually be news, however, given the signers of this letter are largely the same Senators who have supported the project all along…that is, minus at least a few (who we hope have come to their senses).
Why would these tar sands pipeline supporters send another letter to the White House? Well, as usual, one possible answer lies in their political contributions. Sometimes, facts paint the picture quite starkly. Consider the following, taken from our Dirty Energy Money database*:
- Total lifetime contributions from dirty energy money interests to Senators signing the bill from dirty energy money interests: $27.5 million
- Average lifetime contributions from dirty energy money interests to Senators signing the letter: $551,051
- Average lifetime contributions from dirty energy money interests to Senators NOT signing the letter: $162,720
That’s right: those Senators who signed this letter have received – on average –340% MORE in campaign contributions from fossil fuel industry interests than those who had the sense to stay away. Nearly three-and-a-half times more dirty money went to the signers of the letter than to those who didn’t sign it.
It’s no wonder some Senators are getting antsy – it’s their supporters who stand to benefit the most from our continued reliance on fossil fuels. Who stands to be impacted the most by the threats to land, water, communities and our climate, on the other hand, is a different story…
*Note: This data was compiled from Oil Change International’s Dirty Energy Moneydatabase. Data for six Senators – Elizabeth Warren (MA), Angus King (ME), Heidi Heitkamp (ND, signed the letter), Deb Fischer (NE, signed the letter), Ted Cruz (TX, signed the letter) and Tim Kaine (VA) – is not yet available as they are new to both chambers of the Congress and campaign contribution data is still being compiled and analyzed.
Get Grist in your inbox