Billionaire Clean Energy Advocate Pledges to Spend Big in Mass.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/15237218@N00/4318415694/">World Economic Forum</a>/Flickr

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.


A group of young activists is pairing up with a billionaire philanthropist to try to make the Keystone XL pipeline, and climate change, a central issue in the Democratic primary in Massachusetts. 

Tom Steyer, a former hedge fund manager and clean energy evangelist, has spent more than $37 million to pass and defend climate and energy initiatives in California. Now he’s forming a super-PAC to spend on the April 30 Democratic primary for the special election to fill Massachusetts’ empty Senate seat.

Steyer and young environmentalists are targeting Dem Rep. Steve Lynch for his support of the Keystone XL pipeline. Lynch voted for a House bill last year that called for the Obama administration to approve the controversial pipeline. Lynch’s opponent in the primary, Rep. Ed Markey, has the support of a number of environmental groups and opposes the pipeline.

Steyer joined with Craig S. Altemose of the Better Future Project and three other Massachusetts college students to write a open letter to Lynch on Monday demanding he change his position on the pipeline:

Because climate change is such a serious issue, and because it is on the ballot as never before, we are asking you, Congressman Lynch, today to do one of two things by high noon on Friday, March 22. Either act like a real Democrat and oppose Keystone’s dirty energy. Or, get a sworn, binding statement – with securities law enforcement – from TransCanada and the refiners that all of the Keystone-shipped oil will stay here.

If Lynch doesn’t change his tune, they wrote, Steyer will then “immediately launch an aggressive public education campaign” against Lynch. In an interview with Mother Jones, Chris Lehane, a spokesman for Steyer, declined to say how much they would spend on such a campaign, but said it would include paid media, get out the vote work, and field campaigns.

Steyer became involved in the Massachusetts race after Altemose and the other young activists reached out. ?Altemose said their effort is “less of an endorsement of Markey and more a repudiation of Lynch’s actions.” The campaign, he said, is designed to “make sure there’s political consequences for disregarding future generations.”

“For someone to believe they can represent Massachusetts and be supporting policies that take us backward to the dirty energy past is just mind boggling,” Altemose said.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate