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Senate Votes in Favor of Dirty Tar Sands Pipeline, Senators Supporting Keystone XL Received Nearly $31 Million from Fossil Fuel Industry
The U.S. Senate voted in support of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline on Friday, which would deepen our dependence on tar sands oil from Canada. The measure, introduced by Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), signifies yet another attempt by Republicans to pressure President Obama to approve the TransCanada permit for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
According to Environment America, full production of the oil from tar sands would add 240 billion tons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, severely hampering any efforts to tackle global warming. Unchecked global warming will harm present and future generations of Americans in many ways, including more extreme weather events like superstorm Sandy, the worst drought since the Dust Bowl and wildfires raging in the West.
The vote was on an amendment (#494) to the Senate budget resolution, which is not binding, and the White House still has the ultimate authority for approving or rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline.
“By voting in support of the reckless and dangerous Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, these Senators have turned a blind eye to the threats global warming poses to our country and sided with the fossil fuel industry over Americans, our environment and future generations," said Nathan Willcox, Environment America’s global warming program director. "We are deeply disappointed in their vote tonight, and urge them to oppose any future measures on this or other bills which threaten Americans’ health or our environment.”
"Tar sands pipelines have no place in the debate over the federal budget and Congress has no business rubber stamping dangerous, unnecessary Big Oil projects," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. "This vague, nonbinding resolution does nothing but show how eager these Senators are to please their Big Oil masters."
New analysis from Oil Change International reveals that supporters of the non-binding Keystone XL pipeline amendment received 3.5 times more in campaign contributions from fossil fuel interests than those voting “no.” In total, researchers found that supporters took an average of $499,648 from the industry before voting for the pipeline, while sponsors took upwards of $800,000, for a staggering total of $30,978,153.
“Today’s vote presents yet another reason why Congress is less popular than root canals,” said David Turnbull, campaigns director for Oil Change International. “Every single effort from Congress to influence the Keystone XL pipeline decision has been backed by millions in dirty energy money, and today’s was no different. The vote today was nothing more than a 31 million dollar sideshow whose sole purpose was to kiss the rings of the Senate’s Big Oil benefactors.”
The amendment pre-judges but does not replace the ongoing process being undertaken by President Obama’s State Department to review the project which remains in place.
Ahead of the Senate’s vote, Oil Change International released analysis showing that the ten original co-sponsors of the Hoeven amendment received an average of $807,517 from the fossil fuel industry, 254 percent more than the average non-sponsoring Senator, for a total of $8 million dollars from the industry based on data from DirtyEnergyMoney.org.
According to the new analysis, those voting for the amendment received $499,648 from fossil fuel interests, on average, and nearly $31 million in total over their careers. Meanwhile, those voting against the amendment received $143,372 on average.
In other words, those voting for the pipeline received roughly 3.5 times more in fossil fuel industry contributions than their counterparts in the Senate.
“It’s high time for President Obama to publicly reject industry corruption of our politics and the toxic Keystone XL Pipeline,” concluded Turnbull.
Visit EcoWatch’s KEYSTONE XL page for more related news on this topic.
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Cabin fever is often associated with being cooped up on a rainy weekend or stuck inside during a winter blizzard.
In reality, though, it can actually occur anytime you feel isolated or disconnected from the outside world.
What is cabin fever?<p>In popular expressions, cabin fever is used to explain feeling bored or listless because you've been stuck inside for a few hours or days. But that's not the reality of the symptoms.</p><p>Instead, cabin fever is a series of negative emotions and distressing sensations people may face if they're isolated or feeling cut off from the world.</p><p>These feelings of isolation and loneliness are more likely in times of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/yes-covid-19-cases-are-rising-why-you-still-need-to-practice-social-distancing" target="_blank">social distancing</a>, self-quarantining during a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-pandemic" target="_blank">pandemic</a>, or sheltering in place because of severe weather.</p><p>Indeed, cabin fever can lead to a series of symptoms that can be difficult to manage without proper coping techniques.</p><p>Cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological disorder, but that doesn't mean the feelings aren't real. The distress is very real. It can make fulfilling the requirements of everyday life difficult.</p>
What are the symptoms?<p>Symptoms of cabin fever go far beyond feeling bored or "stuck" at home. They're rooted in an intense feeling of isolation and may include:</p><ul><li>restlessness</li><li>decreased motivation</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irritability" target="_blank">irritability</a></li><li>hopelessness</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate" target="_blank">difficulty concentrating</a></li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irregular-sleep-wake-syndrome" target="_blank">irregular sleep patterns</a>, including sleepiness or sleeplessness</li><li>difficulty waking up</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/lethargy" target="_blank">lethargy</a></li><li>distrust of people around you</li><li>lack of patience</li><li>persistent <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/depression-vs-sadness" target="_blank">sadness or depression<br></a></li></ul>
What can help you cope with cabin fever?<p>Because cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological condition, there's no standard "treatment." However, mental health professionals do recognize that the symptoms are very real.</p><p>The coping mechanism that works best for you will have a lot to do with your personal situation and the reason you're secluded in the first place.</p><p>Finding meaningful ways to engage your brain and occupy your time can help alleviate the distress and irritability that cabin fever brings.</p><p>The following ideas are a good place to start.</p>
When to get help<p>Cabin fever is often a fleeting feeling. You may feel irritable or frustrated for a few hours, but having a virtual chat with a friend or finding a task to distract your mind may help erase the frustrations you felt earlier.</p><p>Sometimes, however, the feelings may grow stronger, and no coping mechanisms may be able to successfully help you eliminate your feelings of isolation, sadness, or depression.</p><p>What's more, if your time indoors is prolonged by outside forces, like weather or extended shelter-in-place orders from your local government, feelings of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety" target="_blank">anxiety</a> and fear are valid.</p><p>In fact, anxiety may be at the root of some cabin fever symptoms. This may make symptoms worse.</p><p>If you feel that your symptoms are getting worse, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you understand what you're experiencing. Together, you can identify ways to overcome the feelings and anxiety.</p><p>Of course, if you're in isolation or practicing social distancing, you'll need to look for alternative means for seeing a mental health expert.</p><p>Telehealth options may be available to connect you with your therapist if you already have one. If you don't, reach out to your doctor for recommendations about mental health specialists who can connect with you online.</p><p>If you don't want to talk to a therapist, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/top-iphone-android-apps" target="_blank">smartphone apps for depression</a> may provide a complementary option for addressing your cabin fever symptoms.</p>
The bottom line<p>Isolation isn't a natural state for many people. We are, for the most part, social animals. We enjoy each other's company. That's what can make staying at home for extended periods of time difficult.</p><p>However, whether you're sheltering at home to avoid dangerous weather conditions or heeding the guidelines to help minimize the spread of a disease, staying at home is often an important thing we must do for ourselves and our communities.</p><p>If and when it's necessary, finding ways to engage your brain and occupy your time may help bat back cabin fever and the feelings of isolation and restlessness that often accompany it.</p>
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