Greenpeace Reaction to Passage of The Keystone XL Pipeline Act

January 29, 2015

Statement by Greenpeace Legislative Representative Kyle Ash

Washington, DC – Today, every Republican Senator and a handful of Democrats voted to pass The Keystone XL Pipeline Act, or S.1., as this was the first introduced under a Republican-controlled Senate. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-TN) made it clear to the world that 1950s oil barons control the chamber’s agenda. Many of the senators went even further by announcing they join Senator Inhofe (R-OK) in believing that humans do not contribute to climate change.

Greenpeace Legislative Representative Kyle Ash pointed out how today’s Senate vote means very little in terms of impact on federal policy:

“The senators who voted in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline know they don’t have the votes to override President Obama’s veto, so ultimately this was a symbolic vote for them – a testament to their loyalty to dirty money over rational public policy. Thankfully, these members and their fossil fuel agendas are increasingly irrelevant to the clean energy revolution taking place throughout communities all over the country.”

The debate over approval of the Keystone XL pipeline has largely centered around how disastrous the tar sands oil industry is to the climate, so several pro-climate senators introduced amendments to S.1 to help clarify members’ positions on climate change. For instance, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced an amendment that allowed senators to agree with the scientific community in stating that climate change is real and that it is caused by human activities. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced an amendment to acknowledge that climate disruption has already caused devastating problems in the US and around the world, that a brief window exists before the US and planet suffer irreparable harm, and that it is imperative that the US transform its energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy as rapidly as possible. Sander’s amendment lost the votes of every Republican, plus three Democrats.

Amazingly, 49 senators – all Republicans – voted against the statement that humans significantly contribute to climate change, cementing their legacies as climate deniers. Many senators agreed that humans significantly contribute to climate change and voted for KXL anyway – including Democrat Michael Bennet (D-CO), plus Republicans Kelly Ayotte (NH), Mark Kirk (IL), John McCain (AZ), and Rand Paul (KY).

Ash stated: “Now that we have clarified which senators believe in climate change caused by human activities, clearly a vote is needed on other key issues like whether the earth is indeed flat or whether gravity truly exists. The entire US Congress is now a punch line. While it is certainly sad that so many climate-denying senators reject modern scientific knowledge, we’re happy that voters will have an easy-to-read list of those willing to destroy our future in the name of dirty fossil fuel money.”


Contact: Perry Wheeler, [email protected], P: 301-675-8766


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