GOPers Accept $80,000 Donation From Oil Company, Write Pro-Pipeline Bill The Next Day

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american flag oil rig

If it is difficult to imagine why American politicians seem to be the only people on the planet who still have trouble understanding and accepting climate change, the answer is simple: They are making a fortune pretending to be extremely stupid. At this point, the Republican Party has made it abundantly clear that they have no ethical or intellectual problem selling out the country’s environment to the highest bidder. In fact, they’ve streamlined the process.

Due to the Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, conservatives have managed to stack the various congressional committees with oxymorons. The House Science Committee, for example, is led by Rep. Lamar Smith, a rabid anti-intellectual with a fanatical obsession with harassing scientists who he doesn’t like. The Senate Committee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness is chaired by… Ted Cruz. And the Congressional Energy Chairs, meant to be the nation’s last line of defense between exploitation by energy companies, are run with enthusiasm by two oil company stooges.

Reporter David Sirota discovered some shocking bit of open-aired bribery when he went digging around a shady new fundraising committee set up jointly between the chairman of the House Energy Committee and the chairwoman of the Senate Energy Committee. The two lawmakers set themselves up with joint fundraising scheme and awaited the oil company dollars. When tens of thousands inevitably came, they immediately introduced new legislation that would help their benefactors.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican who chaired the House Energy Committee, gave the industry an opportunity to amplify its influence. Joining forces with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska Republican who chaired the Senate Energy Committee, he launched a so-called joint fundraising committee, a campaign war chest that would accept donations from a range of contributors, with the proceeds divided between the two lawmakers.

Executives at one of the nation’s largest natural gas pipeline companies soon deposited more than $80,750 into the joint fund’s coffers. The very next day, Upton delivered on the industry’s aspirations: He rushed a bill through his legislative panel that would not only streamline the approval process for new pipelines but also empower federal officials to impose tight deadlines on state and local governments seeking to review their potential environmental impacts.

The legislation is an energy company executive’s wildest dream. It essentially made it impossible for state or local governments to organize an effort to block a proposed pipeline. Having concerns about a giant multi-national oil company pouring millions of gallons of crude oil across your backyard was, apparently, a form of government “tyranny.” The bill would block government interference in an energy company’s ability to run roughshod over communities that disagreed with them. It was another prime example of the Republican conception of “freedom.”

And while lawmakers have been taking money from interest groups for decades, the coordination between Rep. Upton and Sen. Murkowski is particularly egregious. By setting up a joint fund, an oil company only needs to dump money into a single place and know that his or her interests will be represented in both the House and Senate. The two lawmakers could then coordinate their respective legislation to increase the chances of a final bill passing both sides of Congress.

President Obama, once again playing the only adult in the room, recently announced that he would be blocking the highly-contentious Keystone XL Pipeline. It’s clear that a responsible president blocking irresponsible legislation is what both oil companies and Republicans fear the most. It also explains why they are so hellbent on making it impossible for the government to stop them in the future.

 

Reprinted with permission from Addicting Info