Big Oil

1Sky Policy Update 8/4/2010 - House passes spill bill, Senate punts

4
Aug
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UPDATE: Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) postponed a vote on oil spill response legislation due to opposition from the entire 41-member Republican caucus and 2 moderate Democrats. Reid hopes to revisit the legislation after the August recess.

With hope of a climate bill this summer stamped out by partisan politics, the House and Senate have been working to pass narrowly-focused oil spill response and drilling reform measures. The House bill passed on Friday, 209-193, with two Republicans supporting it. The Senate bill failed to attract bipartisan support, and is being postponed until after recess. Members of the House are on recess beginning this week, and the Senate will follow suit after voting on Elena Kagan's Supreme Court confirmation later in the week. August recess will be a key time to hold senators accountable for their inaction on climate and energy.

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Organizing tip: shadowing your senators in August

3
Aug
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By 1Sky intern Amy Plovnick. -- Luis

If, like me, you are frustrated and angry that the Senate has failed to pass legislation to address the climate crisis, you might be wondering what you can do about it. Clearly, senators need to hear that it is unacceptable that they did not address the biggest challenge of our time. We need to use grassroots pressure to show our senators that they must do their job on climate – and if they don’t, they will risk facing the consequences. But how can we deliver this message?

One way to put pressure on elected officials is through shadowing them at town halls, candidate forums, and other public events. Shadowing, also known as bird-dogging, involves going to public (and sometimes private) events and asking elected officials questions that will get them to take a strong position on climate or expose their lack of effort on the issue. Throughout the August congressional recess, when members of Congress return to their districts, 1Sky volunteers will be asking them to rise above the influence of Dirty Coal and Big Oil and do their job to address climate change.

Here are some tips for making your shadowing event successful, based on the experiences of 1Sky volunteers:

  • Shadowing is a team effort: A successful shadowing squad involves more than one person asking a difficult but relevant question to their elected official. There are plenty of other ways to be involved in an essential way, such as by contacting the media before the event, making signs, recruiting people, and documenting the event. Which brings me to…
  • Take pictures and video: Recording the event is critical for getting the word out, especially if the elected official says something notorious like this:




    So make sure that you have people assigned to record and photograph the question being asked and the senator’s answer, as well as your group with signs and props. To capture a great, compelling photo, remember to…
  • Use visuals! This August, we will be using the visual of oily hands to convey the scope of our addiction to fossil fuels and show the influence of dirty energy money in Congress. You can also make large signs that convey your message. Make sure that the person or people you have designated to ask the question are not holding signs or visuals, as it might make the elected official less likely to listen to them. When you do get to ask a question…
  • Be assertive, and don’t be afraid to follow up. Practice asking the question beforehand so you feel confident about it. If there is a limited amount of time, be assertive so that you have the opportunity to ask your question. If the elected official tries to give an easy answer ( “I support clean energy”), ask a follow-up question to get them to take a strong position on the issue (“What will you do to make sure that we transition to a clean energy economy and don’t invest in new coal-fired power plants?”).

If you follow these suggestions and come up with creative ideas of your own, your shadowing event is sure to be a success. By keeping the heat on our elected officials, we can turn our anger into action, and our action into a reality in which Congress comes to its senses and addresses climate change.

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Cry for an oil spill

2
Aug
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You wonder when we as a country will ever learn.”

That's a quote from blogger John Atchison in his Helium piece on the latest oil spill disaster in our country.

Last week, a million gallons of oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River in southwest Michigan. My wife grew up on that river. She recalls a childhood watching the ducks, egrets, and fish that populated the river just out her back door. We were married right along the river on a warm day in July fourteen years ago. For us, it was a symbol of the flow and continuity of life. My wife sobbed as we watched the news reports about the spill, knowing it may or may not converge into Lake Michigan and that the clean up is expected to take months.

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Stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline (UPDATED)

9
Jul
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By 1Sky intern Emma Fernandez. See update below -- Luis

Earlier this week, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman warned Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a letter that approving the Keystone XL pipeline would be “a step in the wrong direction” and criticized the State Department’s limited environmental impact statement about the pipeline.

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The BP oil spill: An ecological disaster

8
Jul
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By Janelle Corn, Ph.D. See bio at the end of this post. -- Luis

Yesterday, a guest blog at 1Sky posted a heart-wrenching story about oil from the BP spill coming ashore at Florida's Gulf Island National Seashore, one of 15 special places identified as at-risk in a report by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The report, which can be downloaded as .pdf files at this link, was written in late May to summarize a just few of the many, many national parks, wildlife refuges, and seashores at potential risk from the BP oil spill that has now been flowing for over 2 months.

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The Saddest Thing: First-hand Encounter of Oil on Florida and Alabama Beaches (PHOTOS)

7
Jul

Post by Dr. Stephen A. Smith from Cleanenergy.org, cross-posted with permission from our allies Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. -- Ines

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Poll: 64% of Americans reject Big Oil & Dirty Coal

9
Jun
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Now that the true cost of our fossil fuel addiction has become appallingly clear over the last seven weeks, the need for action is beginning to sink in with the American people.

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DC Hill Udate 6/8/10: Murkowski "Dirty Air Act" vote this week

8
Jun
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The Senate returned from recess on Monday and, according to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), discussing energy-related legislation is at the top of their agenda. The BP spill has the potential to transform the energy debate in Congress. Leadership in the Senate and the White House have an opportunity to pivot off of the BP spill and drive our energy policy in a new direction.

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Weekly roundup 6/4/10: Day 46 of the BP oil disaster

4
Jun
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I really, really wish I didn't have to lead today's roundup with more on the BP oil disaster, but since the oil spill is now in its 46th day, I'm afraid I have no choice. I also wish I didn't have to nag you again about Lisa Murkowski (R-Exxon/BP/Shell/etc.) and her seek-and-destroy mission against the Clean Air Act, but you deal with the senators you have, not the ones you wish you had. Thankfully it's not all doom-and-gloom in Roundupville: this week we heard some of the strongest language in favor of a comprehensive climate and energy bill from President Obama than we've heard in awhile.

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Murkowski takes "The Cheney" prize for energy lies

3
Jun
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By 1Sky blogging working group member Andy Silber. -- Luis

Breaking news: Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has just been awarded "The Cheney" -- an award given to the politician who comes up with the most bald-faced lies on energy issues. The award is named after former Vice President Dick Cheney, who was incapable of NOT lying about anything related to energy policy. Murkowski won for her attempt to repeal the EPA's “endangerment finding", which showed that carbon dioxide emissions are a threat to human health and the environment. Her award-winning lies fall into two categories:

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