Just when we thought it was safe, the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project has once again reared its ugly head. Even though President Obama said no the pipeline, Republicans are trying to push it through as an amendment to the Transportation Bill. Any day now the Senate will vote on an amendment that would force approval for the pipeline. Republicans in the House of Representatives have already passed the energy portion of their transportation bill, which would grant Keystone a permit. But this is the first time that the pipeline has had an up or down vote in the Senate.
The Republican amendment, championed by Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota, would sidestep the need for presidential approval and allow Congress to approve the project.
Congress is trying usurp power to forgo normal environmental review processes and give Congress the unprecedented authority to hand out permits on massive projects.
The Congress has the authority to bypass the State Department and approve the pipeline under the commerce clause. There are other provisions that could also be approved in the Transportation Bill, including forced expanded oil drilling and repealing EPA’s crucial clean air boiler rule. However, any bill containing such measures would still require Obama’s signature.
Republicans persist despite strong opposition to the pipeline. In February, over 800,000 signatures were delivered to Congress expressing opposition and over 100 mayors sent a letter opposing the pipeline.
In another act of protest, the Lakota tribe in South Dakota prevented the passage of trucks carrying tar sands equipment through the Pine Ridge Reservation.
To protest the proposed amendment, 350.org activists were all over Capitol Hill and the halls of Congress this week. They were also pressuring wavering Senators by getting them on record before the vote.
The fight against Keystone XL has demonstrated that direct action and civil disobedience can make a difference. Let your voice be heard, call your Senator today. To use the 350.org tool to locate your Senator’s phone number click here.
To send a message to your Senators through Facebook or Twitter with the help of a 350.org tool click here.
© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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