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Does Maria Cantwell Stand With the Environment or Stand With Donald Trump?

Insights + Opinion
Maria Cantwell.

As Donald Trump continues to stack his administration with fossil fuel industry executives and climate change deniers, new reports have been coming out nearly every day on the imminent threats global warming poses to the future of humanity. Given this, you'd think that a Democratic Senator from Washington state would be doing all she could to protect the environment and resist Trump's pro-polluter agenda. Yet Democrat Maria Cantwell of Washington is doing the opposite—she's promoting fracking and fossil fuel infrastructure.


Just days ago, while Trump was preparing for a trip to Europe where he would further isolate the U.S. from the rest of the world on matters of climate policy and common sense in general, Mitch McConnell announced an unusual move to bypass standard Senate procedure and push the Energy Modernization Act of 2017 directly to the full floor for a vote. This bill, authored by Cantwell and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), would greatly expand fracking and natural gas infrastructure at just the moment we need to be aggressively moving off fossil fuels and to 100 percent renewable energy.

What would this dirty energy legislation do? Among other bad things, it would:

  • Expedite review of fracked gas export terminals, requiring a decision on such proposals within just 45 days of an environmental review. This will encourage more fracking, and create font-line sacrifice zones for the sake of overseas gas export and profit.
  • Make the pro-industry Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the lead decision maker in authorizing all new interstate fracked gas infrastructure projects.
  • Instruct the Bureau of Land Management to create a pilot program for expediting drilling and fracking permits.
  • Allocate millions of dollars for discovery, development and extraction of methane hydrate deposit in U.S. coastal waters.

Together, these provisions are a shameful giveaway to the fossil fuel industry and directly support Donald Trump's pro-fossil fuel agenda. At the same time, the bill slashes energy efficiency goals in federal buildings. Not to mention the fact that the legislation's renewable energy section does not even mention solar and wind power. On Monday, more than 350 national, state and local grassroots groups sent a letter to Senate leadership opposing the bill.

Sen. Cantwell likes to portray herself as pro-environment. On her website she states: "Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the future of the economy in Washington state and the country." It's hard to imagine how should could believe this while also cosponsoring a "fossil fuels forever" bill that would move us to the precipice of climate catastrophe.

The science is clear—we must move off fossil fuels immediately if we are to have any chance of avoiding climate chaos. If Ms. Cantwell is serious about tackling climate change, she must stop working with Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans as they seek to doom us to the fracked gas future of Trump's dreams. If she is serious, she must drop her dirty energy bill, and join the Clean Energy Revolution now.

Tell Sen. Cantwell to stop promoting Trump's fracked gas agenda and withdraw S 1460, her dirty energy bill!

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