If you are wondering why a pipeline that would create fewer jobs than a new McDonald’s is the No. 1 priority of what used to be known as “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” you are not alone.
The answer, unsurprisingly, has everything to do with money, and in particular, the Supreme Court’s tragic 2010 Citizens United ruling. After five years, we can now see clearly how this case has opened the floodgates to massive amounts of fossil fuel money.
Keystone XL is the top issue because the fossil fuel industry wants it to be — and they paid handsomely to make that happen. Take this month’s KXL vote in the House: Representatives voting in favor of the pipeline took a combined $13 million from oil and gas interests in 2014 alone, which was a whopping 8.5 times times more than those voting against.
And then there’s the impact of Citizens United, which goes far beyond a single vote or a single pipeline. The entire climate and energy landscape has been distorted by the huge influx of industry money since 2010. $13 million is in fact chump change for the oil and gas industry. In 2011-12, oil, gas, and coal companies spent $329 milli... Read more