44 Senators Behind Keystone Bill Took $22.3 Million in Campaign Cash from Big Oil
Forty-four Senators who introduced legislation today backing the controversial Keystone XL pipeline received $22.3 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry since 1989, according to analysis by 350.org and Public Campaign Action Fund. The figures reflected data coded by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics and available on their website and include contributions through Sept. 30, 2011. Fourth quarter filings are due to the Federal Election Commission tomorrow.
The bill, which was announced on Jan. 30 by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and cosponsored by 42 GOP senators and one Democratic Senator, would approve the Keystone XL project despite the Obama Administration’s rejection of its permit following months of intensifying protest against it and studies downplaying its potential economic impact.
“We no longer can just accept business as usual on Capitol Hill—the idea that the fossil fuel lobby puts a quarter in the slot, turns the handle, and gets a shiny toy has to come to an end,” said Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org. “The nation's top scientists, not to mention ten recent winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, have explained why this is a lousy idea. That should speak as loudly as campaign cash.”
The analysis of campaign donations for the cosponsors found that seven of them have taken more than one million dollars over their careers from the oil industry. The cosponsors collectively received more than $1.1 million over the first three quarters of 2011, the last data available in advance of tomorrow’s FEC deadline.
“The introduction of this Keystone bill is not about jobs for Americans, it's about these Senators' trying to protect their own jobs,” commented David Donnelly, national campaigns director of Public Campaign Action Fund. “They're looking out for themselves, paying back their Big Oil donors, and trying to cash in for more Big Oil money.”
350.org is an international climate campaign that has helped lead protests against the Keystone XL pipeline. 350 parts per million is the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere according to the latest science (we’re now at 392 ppm).
Public Campaign Action Fund works to hold politicians who are against comprehensive campaign finance reform accountable for where they get their political donations.
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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