Tuesday’s dramatic Senate vote against approval of the Keystone XL pipeline was more than just a sweet victory for U.S. clean energy advocates, John H. Cushman writes in InsideClimate News.
“It was the first defence by besieged Congressional Democrats of President Obama’s entire environmental and climate agenda, which they fear may be going down the drain,” Cushman writes.
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The Keystone vote will be replayed in January, when Republicans form a Senate majority. And it’s just the leading edge of a legislative agenda that will include measures to erode the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency, eliminate renewable energy production tax credits, ramp up oil and liquefied natural gas exports, and debate whether carbon dioxide is even a pollutant.
“In the face of threats like these, Democrats are adopting a defensive crouch that plays to their strengths despite their new minority status,” Cushman writes. “Not only did they not lose Tuesday, they took advantage of six hours of high-profile debate to paint the ascendant Republicans as anti-environment, anti-planet, anti-kids, and anti-science.”
Democrats defeated the Keystone measure with 41 votes opposed, against 59 in favour of closing debate—since in the U.S. Senate, as one anti-Keystone legislator noted, “we know that 41 is bigger than 59.”