Arthur Christopher Schaper
At 3 pm today, the United States Senate will finally vote on the Keystone Pipeline Extension. Endangered incumbent Mary Landrieu believes that the legislation will pass. Red state Democrats will definitely support increasing oil supply to the world at large, especially if they want to solidify any chance of getting reelected in the next four years.
Still, this pipeline extension was a no-brainer from Day One. More energy, thousands of jobs, minimal damage to the environment (per the State Department’s review), and the project would even be a win for labor unions, at least those which are still viable.
This vote is long overdue. How many years has the Canadian government had to wait for this moment? The House passed hundreds of bills, from immigration reform to energy innovation including Keystone, and the demoted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sat on those bills and refused to allow them to come to the floor of the upper chamber for a full vote.
On this historic day, I called my US Senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. I told them I want them to support this bill. They have already decided to vote “No!” on the project. Before asking for their reasons to oppose Keystone, I asked their staff to explain why they did nothing about reforming our broken immigration system when their part held heavy majorities in Congress. But I digress. . .
Senator Feinstein did release a statement on Keystone, justifying her “No!” vote. First, she claimed that the oil will go to global markets as opposed to the United States exclusively. She also sounded concerns about carbon pollution, and the direct costs on the American people as opposed to any benefits.
Such economic reasoning is illogical. No wonder Maine Gov. Paul LePage declared: “I was a Democrat until I learned to count.” The more oil available to the global market, the greater the supply, thus an ease in demand and prices will go down. An extensive glut of oil is rising to surface for distribution off the Gulf Coast. Why would the United States Senate want to prevent the availability of this commodity?
Besides, the Keystone Pipeline extension is good foreign policy. Instead of relying petrol plutocrats in South America or the Middle East for oil, North America and Western Europe (as well as thriving Asian countries) will have access to other carbon reserves, thus ending the slick cash-flow to failed, third-world countries bent on civil rights violations rather than improving civilization.
Turning from California’s Senatorial delegation, I contacted Rhode Island US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s office. He has already informed the world at large that he will vote against Keystone. Fine. It’s too bad that his former Majority Leader did not give him (and by extension his constituents) the opportunity to voice their purported opposition to Keystone XL. I then asked the staff another question:
Will Senator Whitehouse filibuster the Keystone extension?
They offered that he had no plans to do that.
Why not? Senator Whitehouse has given over sixty speeches on climate change, including the big blue poster of the Earth in orbit, with the words “Time to Wake Up” emblazoned around it. If he is so passionate about protecting Rhode Islanders from the ill effects of climate change, or global warming, or whatever they want to call it, why not take to the floor and make his concerns known?
Sheldon Whitehouse should filibuster the Keystone bill. He has recent examples to encourage his efforts. US Senator Rand Paul blocked the nominee to head the CIA over whether the President could order drone strikes on American citizens. Even liberal Democratic Senator Robert Wyden of Oregon joined Paul’s filibuster. US Senator Ted Cruz (who scares Democrats and frustrates his liberal colleagues) joined his colleague from Kentucky. A few months later, he spoke at length opposing Obamacare, debating to silence his Democratic opponents and rallying Americans across the country to #MakeDCListen. There are other Democrats who have filibustered, too, like New York’s Chuck Schumer, who gave his verbal all to stop legislation which would have hurt typewriter factors in the Empire State.
So, where is Whitehouse on Keystone? Yes, he will vote against it, but he should stand and talk against it, too. If it’s time for this country to wake up to the dangers of climate change (now readily disputed by scholastic and lay scientists), why not stand up and filibuster the bill in the US Senate?
Contact Senator Whitehouse, and tell him to put his feet where his mouth is. Tell him stand and filibuster the Keystone Pipeline Extension bill.
Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance.
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