American Elephants


Tom Steyer Blew $74 Million On Fighting A Pipeline. by The Elephant's Child

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Tom Steyer became a billionaire by investing in fossil fuels. Now he is betting against them, and blew at least $74 million trying to persuade the voters to oppose Republicans who disagree with him about the Keystone XL pipeline. He opposes the pipeline, he opposes oil sands from Alberta, and apparently would prefer to see Alberta’s oil sent to market by rail. Rail, of course, is far more dangerous and subject to oil spills than a pipeline — pipelines have an excellent safety record.

Well, proof, once again, that money doesn’t buy elections. Mr. Steyer and the teacher’s unions wasted far more money than most. Mr. Steyer gave most of his money to his NextGen Climate Action Super PAC. Environmental groups including NextGen spent $85 million to support President Obama’s agenda, especially the regulations for “bankrupting coal.” They are not taking the defeat well. Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune  whined:

Despite the climate movement’s significant investments and an unprecedented get out the vote program, strong voices for climate action were defeated and candidates paid for by corporate interests and bolstered by sinister voter suppression tactics won the day.

Mitch McConnell made opposition to “the war on coal” the centerpiece of his campaign, and won what was supposed to be a close election by 15 points. Shelley Moore Capito’s support for coal made her the first female GOP Senator in 55 years from West Virginia.

Mr. Steyer and the greens made opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline a litmus test of their support for Democrats, and Mr. Obama dutifully delayed approving the pipeline, despite multiple government reports showing no effect on the climate whatsoever from the pipeline.

In his statement to reporters following the election, Mr. Obama once again went off on “infrastructure and roads and bridges” suggesting that nasty Republicans wouldn’t support those opportunities for creating good jobs for unemployed Americans struggling to join the middle class. That has been Obama’s constant refrain repeated endlessly since 2009. Hello? An oil pipeline guaranteeing  something like 20,000 jobs IS infrastructure.

Republicans are promising to push pro-fossil-fuel  energy policy in Congress, including support for the Keystone XL,  fast-track approval for liquid natural-gas-export terminals, and reining in anti-coal regulations. Democrats might want to help create jobs, and perhaps save their own. Principle works better than falling all over yourself when a billionaire promises money.

If these environmental zealots would spend as much time studying up on the science of energy as they do on trying to buy politicians, they would save a fair amount of cash.




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