Senate Fail: Let’s Name Names


Environmental groups are holding onto hope that the Senate will do something about climate change this year, or at least hope that they can shame senators for not acting on the issue. In a joint statement, 26 national groups and dozens of state and regional green and progressive groups yesterday condemned the failure to pass legislation in the Senate and pointed to the oil spill as evidence that “there’s never been a more urgent time to move forward with a clean energy and climate policy.”

The statement is nice, but I wish they would have called out the specific Senators who remain a problem. I don’t mean only Republicans; there are a number of Democrats who wouldn’t have voted for a climate bill this year, either, which is why it didn’t make its way into the Senate package.

From the letter:

There’s no doubt that big oil, big coal, their army of lobbyists and their partners in Congress are cheering the obstruction that blocked Senate action on clean energy and climate legislation. Their cheers are cheers for China taking the lead in clean energy jobs, the Middle East getting more of our money, and America getting more pollution and fewer jobs.

At every opportunity, a minority of Senators who are in the pocket of America’s largest polluters in the coal and oil industries chose obstruction over working together to solve America’s energy and national security challenges. As a result of their actions, the big polluters will continue to reap record profits at the expense of Americans.

As we look forward, one thing is clear: the Senate’s job is not done. They must use every opportunity available to address clean energy and climate reform by working to limit carbon pollution and invest in new clean energy sources that are made in America, including protecting the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to crack down on polluters.

Disappointment in the Senate is justifiable. But activists should name names.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.