Tags: Keystone pipeline | climate change | midterm elections | environment

Climate Change, Not Keystone Pipeline, Top Environmental Issue

Climate Change, Not Keystone Pipeline, Top Environmental Issue
Protesters unveil an inflatable mock pipeline during a protest against the KXL pipeline at the Reflecting Pool on the Nationals Mall in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Landov)

By    |   Wednesday, 15 October 2014 11:35 AM

It was the subject of television advertisements, a rallying issue for environmentalists and oil industry representatives alike, but construction of the Keystone Pipeline has not emerged as an issue in the 2014 campaign, reports Politico.

"I don’t want to say there’s much less interest in getting the pipeline built, but there’s much less concern among guys in the business about whether it gets built or not," GOP energy lobbyist Mike McKenna said in an interview with Politico. "I don’t want to say they’re getting bored with the conversation, but they’re starting to get bored with the conversation."

For environmentalists, Keystone has been trumped by climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, says League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Senior Vice President Daniel J. Weiss.

In 2012, Weiss said there were more than $7 million in pipeline-related TV ads in congressional races alone, but this year "Keystone has been much more of a sideshow."

In fact, NextGen Climate, the political action committee founded by California environmentalist Tom Steyer, noted in an Oct. 10 blog post "right now there are only two things we can be sure of: that climate is definitely on the ballot, and that every vote counts.

And climate change will be the focus of the PAC in the final weeks of the campaign with the launch of its "science denier week," reports The Hill.

The PAC will challenge Republican candidates in targeted races, such as Colorado and Michigan, to state whether they believe the climate change is real or whether they will "continue to support caveman-like policies from the Stone Age."

Chris Lehane, a top Steyer adviser, tells The Hill, "Today we are issuing a specific challenge to deniers, giving them one last time to come clean before voters vote."

Part of the reason the pipeline has been muted as a rallying cry for both sides was the Obama administration's announcement that any decision until after the elections.

In mid-April, the State Department said it wanted to get a fuller picture of the legal challenges to the Keystone XL pipeline’s route, according to the New York Times.

In many races, it is Steyer, who opposes construction of Keystone, which is a larger issue than the actual pipeline.

During the last Iowa Senate debate, GOP candidate Joni Ernst slammed her opponent, Rep. Bruce Braley for accepting support "California billionaire extreme environmentalist who opposes the Keystone pipeline," reports the Huffington Post.

In all, Steyer has plowed more than $42 million of his fortune into federal campaign accounts since early March 2013, the most of any super PAC in the 2014 cycle, reports USA Today.

The pipeline has played a more prominent role in the Senate races in Alaska and Louisiana. The debate, however, is centered around which candidate would have better success getting the pipeline approved, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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It was the subject of television advertisements, a rallying issue for environmentalists and oil industry representatives alike, but construction of the Keystone Pipeline has not emerged as an issue in the 2014 campaign, reports Politico.
Keystone pipeline, climate change, midterm elections, environment
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2014-35-15
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 11:35 AM
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