Current Events

Weekly Round-Up 7/30/10: Another oil spill, this time in Michigan

30
Jul
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Michigan called for a "State of Emergency" because of the largest oil spill in Midwest history. The pipeline, owned by Enbridge Liquids Pipelines and the largest transporter of oil from western Canada, leaked 840,000 gallons into the Kalamazoo River Monday morning devastating Calhoun County. The pipeline has been shut down but the damage is already done. And to think, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich was on the fence about the climate and energy bill that was recently proposed then put on the back burner.

The horrific pictures coming in of the oil spill in Calhoun County area underscore just how imperative it is for Michigan to move toward clean, safe energy sources like wind and solar instead of relying on outdated fuels like oil," Clean Water Action Michigan Director Cyndi Roper.
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Following the money in Missouri

29
Jul
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By 1Sky intern Amy Plovnick. -- Luis

On Tuesday, July 20, people from across Missouri gathered in front of Senator Claire McCaskill’s St. Louis office to mark the three month anniversary of the BP oil spill disaster. They asked her to stand with the people, not the polluters, by rejecting campaign contributions from dirty energy corporations, working to switch federal subsidies from polluting fossil fuels to renewable technologies, and supporting an end to offshore drilling.

To ensure that Senator McCaskill heard about this event, in which demonstrators performing an oil “spill-in” blocked traffic in front of her office for about ten minutes, several Missouri residents now in D.C. attended “Coffee with Claire,” a weekly event in which the senator meets Missourians and answers questions. Arielle Klagsbrun of the Energy Action Coalition handed Senator McCaskill photos of the July 20 event and asked her if she would stand with the people by “returning the $25,000 in campaign contributions that you received from dirty energy companies.”

Senator McCaskill replied with a contradiction. She first said that, “I ran for this office and got elected without one dime from any of the people you’re talking about, they were all for my opponent. I’m not here on the basis of any of that money.” However, she later said “Coal has given me a few contributions, compared to many of my colleagues who have gotten a lot more”.

While Senator McCaskill may not have been elected with the help of dirty energy money, she has taken money from the industry while in office. In 2010 she has accepted $9,200 from the coal mining industry and $24,000 from electric utilities, according to OpenSecrets.org. When Senator McCaskill says that she will not support a climate and clean energy bill that increases energy prices for Missouri ratepayers because “it is not our fault in Missouri that we are depending on coal,” one has to wonder whether she really has Missourians in mind, or whether she is looking out for the large dirty energy corporations that have given her so much money and that would be regulated under such a bill.

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They're coming for the Clean Air Act -- again

28
Jul
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By 1Sky blogger Nick Santos. See his bio at the end of this post.-- Luis

By now, most of you have probably heard the double dose of bad news coming out of the Senate (It seems like political bad news too frequently comes from there). Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has indefinitely delayed action on a climate bill and is still talking of scheduling floor time for Senator Rockefeller's (D-WV) reprise of Lisa Murkowski's (R-AK) Dirty Air Act.

There's a lot of implications to both of those actions, and I'm now beyond frustrated with the Senate, so let's step through why this extra delay from the Senate is absolutely dangerous for public health and welfare.

First, let’s address the delay of the climate bill. The Senate continues to show absolute cowardice in its unwilling to act, despite clear public support for the measures. Working on climate change issues has given me a healthy dose of reality regarding the Senate’s timelines and the frequent delay that’s involved. However, this delay has the potential to be more devastating than the others because, unless something changes, we’re looking at a minimum of three months of delay, but potentially 6-12 months in reality. This length of time is unacceptable to address one of the biggest issues of our time.

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They've failed -- and we must hold them accountable

27
Jul
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I am furious and frustrated.

We're sweltering here in Washington DC -- living on a planet that just survived the hottest six months in recorded history -- and yet last week the Senate announced it plans to do absolutely nothing for the foreseeable future about our climate crisis.

Big Oil, Dirty Coal and their allies in Congress have succeeded once again in blocking bold climate action.  As a result, they will continue to reap record profits at the expense of our health, safety and economic security.

It's time to show Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, our senators and President Obama the full extent of our outrage at their failure to take on the greatest crisis of our time.

That's why 1Sky has launched an online campaign to hold our leaders accountable. We're asking you to send them a message with two simple points:

  • They've failed to do their job on climate -- and you won't take 'no' for an answer;
  • You'll hold them accountable for their lack of action.
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Weekly round-Up 7/23/10: Senate beats around the bush...again

23
Jul
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The Senate has once again stalled on climate this summer by officially dropping a comprehensive climate bill from July legislation. In other words, a climate bill will not be passed this summer as we hoped. Big Oil, Dirty Coal and their friends in Congress have again blocked any progress towards a solution to our dependence on dirty energy and our worsening climate. This only goes to show the huge and disturbing influence Big Oil and Dirty Coal has on Congress. This is unacceptable, even more so now that we are in the middle of the worst oil spill in our history and our ever rising temperatures proving global warming is a clear and present danger. However, Congress is either blind to the fact or simply looks the other way.

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Campaign update: Calls for the Clean Air Act

23
Jul
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I really enjoy reading the comments left by 1Sky supporters during a call campaign. With each campaign, our supporters call their elected officials, voice their concerns with the legislators’ staff, and provide us with feedback on their call. Not only is feedback crucial for us to gauge Senate office reactions to our demands, they also inform us on how together we’re pushing our leaders to keep fighting for clean energy solutions.

Our current Spill to Bill campaign focuses on what the Senate needs to do to protect the Clean Air Act in bill negotiations over the next two weeks and help us transition from the Gulf Oil Disaster to a strong climate and clean energy bill. These callers keep pushing their leaders and making these calls to keep our voice raised for what we think is a very crucial moment for climate legislation in our country. Here are a few of my favorite comments so far from callers (hint: add your own and call your senators now!):

Claudia in PA (calling Sen. Bob Casey):

Told him…. trying to protect coal industry jobs is like protecting the guy who sweeps the deck of the Titanic.

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Senate stalls AGAIN on climate and energy bill

22
Jul
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1Sky Campaign Director Gillian Caldwell issued this statement a few minutes ago in reaction to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's announcement that the Senate won't consider comprehensive climate and energy legislation until the fall:

Recent reports that the Senate will not consider comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation before August are a testament to the outrageous influence of Big Oil and Dirty Coal and their allies in Congress.  It is unacceptable that even in the wake of the worst oil spill in U.S. history, our elected officials have failed to take bold action to address the dangers of our fossil fuel dependence and our worsening climate crisis.

“Enough is enough.  The Senate and the Obama Administration must break the fossil fuel industry’s stranglehold on our political system and show the leadership necessary to take us from the BP spill to a strong clean energy and climate bill.  1Sky activists will be mobilizing during the August congressional recess to drive that message home loud and clear.  The time for solutions is now.

Keep those phones ringing in the Senate!

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Calling out Congress for its oily hands

21
Jul
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By 1Sky intern Amy Plovnick. -- Luis

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three months since the blowout of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. That's three months of seeing pictures of oil-soaked birds, hearing about failed attempts to stop the spill, and reading stories of people’s lives being devastated by oil reaching their shoreline and crippling their livelihoods.

To commemorate the three month anniversary of the spill, volunteers from many environmental groups, including 1Sky, gathered in front of the Capitol for a rally on July 20. We listened to many speakers, including residents of the Gulf who had come to lobby their senators to pass a climate and energy bill. With signs and chants, we called for an end to dirty energy money in politics, an end to offshore drilling, and a shift to clean, renewable energy sources. Many people covered their hands in oil-like substances to illustrate the devastation in the Gulf and to represent the oily hands of the politicians who accept donations from dirty energy companies. After the rally, many volunteers visited the offices of the ten members of Congress who have received the most campaign contributions from BP and demanded that they give this money to relief efforts in the Gulf. Here's a slideshow of images from yesterday's event:

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In memory of climate scientist Stephen Schneider

21
Jul
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Stephen Schneider died on Monday. Losing Stephen is so hard. He was one of the few climate scientists I could call, ask for guidance, and cry with. He knew as much as anybody about the complex effects of global warming on glaciers, coral reefs, sea level rise and drought. Stephen was one of the world's most influential climate scientists, a Stanford professor, a physicist, and a leader among the scientists whose climate research earned a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Among his many contributions and achievements, Stephen advised every U.S. President from Nixon to Obama on the threat and potential impact of global warming. He was only 65.

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We can't lose the Clean Air Act in a climate bill

20
Jul
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After nearly three months of inaction since the beginning of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the Senate will finally take on climate and clean energy within the next two weeks.

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