Tags: Climate Change | Keystone XL Pipeline | Keystone | environmentalists | midterms | Senate

Eco-Groups Gave Almost $1M to Senate Dems Who Voted for Keystone

By    |   Wednesday, 19 November 2014 09:08 AM

The 14 Senate Democrats who voted to support  the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday had collectively received some $820,000 in contributions from environmental groups in the 2014 election cycle, the National Journal reports, citing data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

"We regularly support people who disagree with us at times," Heather Taylor-Miesle, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund, told the Journal. "We evaluate the entire candidate.

"The Keystone pipeline is an important part of the equation, and I wouldn't just say it was one vote compared to other votes. But at the end of the day, there are a lot of important things that we're out there supporting, and the president's climate plan is something that weighed heavily this cycle."

Trying to keep Senate seats from falling to Republicans also played a role in some of the environmental support of Democrats with less than perfect records on the environment, the Journal noted.

In a 59-to-41 vote, the $8 billion pipeline fell short in the Senate, with 40 Democrats and Maine’s independent Sen. Angus King voting against it.

Democrats who benefited from the financial support of green groups include Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, Sen. John Walsh of Montana, Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas and North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan.

Bennet received $179,011, despite being the target of lobbying as the Keystone vote neared, according to the Journal, while Tester got $270,000. He holds "a lifetime 88 percent score on the League of Conservation Voters’ scorecard despite his pipeline support," the Journal said.

Begich, who is a mixed bag as an ally of the oil and gas industry while also supporting action on climate change, received green contributions of nearly $62,000. Walsh was the recipient of $54,100; Hagan, $95,173 and Pryor, $39,700.

"Even some climate-friendly Republicans netted environmental support despite their backing of the pipeline," according to the Journal. "Maine's Susan Collins brought in some $30,000, and the Environmental Defense Action Fund spent $300,000 on her re-election campaign."

Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer was more judicious with his contributions. None of the four Dems backed by Steyer’s NextGen Climate voted for the pipeline.

In a statement published in The Hill, Steyer lauded the vote’s failure.

"The Keystone XL pipeline is a bad deal for the United States and an even worse deal for the future of our children, our environment, and our economy," Steyer said.

"The fact remains: the Keystone XL pipeline would mean millions of tons of new carbon pollution entering the air, and could also mean dozens of newly polluted waterways and poisoned communities all across the Midwest."

The pipeline will likely have enough votes to pass once the next Congress is sworn in in January.

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The 14 Senate Democrats who voted to support the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday had collectively received some $820,000 in contributions from environmental groups in the 2014 election cycle, the National Journal reports.
Keystone, environmentalists, midterms, Senate
464
2014-08-19
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 09:08 AM
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