Carper, Coons, betray Delaware yet again — vote for tar sands oil pipeline

ACTION: Call Coons and Carper.  Email their staffers.  Sign the petition.  But do something!

Two of the worst Democratic senators in the US Senate are from Delaware:  Chris Coons and Tom Carper.  These two are what have been called “Democrats in Name Only” (DINOs) in the sense that they almost always vote for fat-cat interests and betray the public interest.

On March 22, 2013, Coons and Carper disgraced themselves and mocked the interests of Delaware by joining 15 other “Democratic” senators in voting to support the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline.

The 17 Democrats who supported the measure were Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Tom Carper (Del.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Chris Coons (Del.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W. Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Mark Warner (Va.).

The Keystone XL pipeline has been described as a “game over” decision that would accelerate global warming by promoting more use of the extremely dirty Canadian tar sands oils.  I am not personally sure this is so, but the chance isn’t worth taking, especially considering the foul behavior of Transcanada, the company promoting the pipeline, and the ecological damage and spill hazards associated with the project.

James Hansen wrote (footnotes omitted in this excerpt, but use the link and read the whole thing):

“Although there are multiple objections to tar sands development and the pipeline, including destruction of the environment in Canada and the likelihood of spills along the pipeline’s pathway, such objections, by themselves, are very unlikely to stop the project.”

“An overwhelming objection is that exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts. The tar sands are estimated (e.g., see IPCC AR4 WG3 report) to contain at least 400 GtC (equivalent to about 200 ppm CO2).”

“Easily available reserves of conventional oil and gas are enough to take atmospheric CO2 well above 400 ppm. However, if emissions from coal are phased out over the next few decades and if unconventional fossil fuels are left in the ground, it is conceivable to stabilize climate.”

“Phase out of emissions from coal is itself an enormous challenge. However, if the tar sands are thrown into the mix it is essentially game over. There is no practical way to capture
the CO2 emitted while burning oil, which is used principally in vehicles.”

 

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have increased from about 305 in the late 1950s to about 397 this February.

Here’s a recent example from Arkansas of a spill along a pipeline.

As Green Delaware has written many times, Delaware may be more vulnerable to sea level rise caused by global warming than any other US state.  So it would be reasonable to expect that Delaware’s representatives in the U.S. Senate would be leaders in the effort to curtail global warming.  See here and here, for example.

Why are they the opposite?  That would be a good question to ask Coons and Carper:

Senator Chris Coons:  DC office:  202.224.5042, Dover office: 302.736.5601.
(Lisa Hummon, Legislative Assistant, lisa_hummon@coons.senate.gov .)

Senator Tom Carper: DC office:  202.224.2441, Wilmington office:  302.573.6291, Dover office: 302.674.3308, Georgetown office:  302.856.7690
(Laura Haynes, Senior Policy Advisor for Energy and Environment, laura_haynes@carper.senate.gov.)

(Note, Haynes returned a call from Green Delaware.  Hummon did not.)

350.ORG and the Sierra Club and perhaps some other orgs are promoting a march on both Senators’ offices in Wilmington next Thursday at 4 PM to “tell them what we think” of their vote for Keystone XL. “We’ll begin our March with a short rally at Coons’ office at 1105 N. Market St. and then take our signs, banners and chanting on the road and march to Senator Carper’s office at 301 North Walnut Street where we’ll do a repeat of the rally!” “Park for FREE (bring your ticket to Stephanie to be validated) in our Community Service Building Garage just a couple blocks from Sen Coons’ office at 111 West 11th St!”

 

But the Sierra Club mailings about this event also, say: “Despite their strong histories as environmental champions ….” This is bullshit.   Coons and Carper are clever pols, but they are no more “environmental champions” than they are ballet dancers.  This sort of lying and sucking up is a key reason Delawareans are mostly clueless about the reality of “their” politicians.

Also:  here is a petition from the League of Conservation Voters:

Tell Your Senators: Your vote on the Hoeven amendment supporting the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline was wrong. Building the Keystone pipeline is bad for our climate and bad for our country.

 

ACTION: Call Coons and Carper.  Email them.  Sign the petition.  Email their staff.  Participate in the march.  But do something!

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