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CCNet 05/11/14

Powerful Green Lobby Defeated In US Midterm Elections

Republicans Win Control Of US Senate

 
For Tom Steyer and other environmentalists, $85 million wasn’t enough to help Democrats keep the Senate blue or win more than a single governor’s mansion in Tuesday’s toughest races. The billionaire’s super PAC and other green groups saw the vast majority of their favored candidates in the battleground states go down to defeat, despite spending an unprecedented amount of money to help climate-friendly Democrats in the midterm elections. The outcome brought gloating from Republicans and fossil-fuel supporters even before the results rolled in — and raised questions about whether greens can fulfill their pledge to make climate change a decisive campaign issue in 2016. --Andrew Restuccia, Politico, 5 November 2015
 
 
 
Climate Change: This was one of the dogs that didn't bark in the 2014 election, even after liberal billionaire Tom Steyer spent an estimated $70 million to promote the issue and a new U.N. report Sunday warned of "severe, pervasive, and irreversible" global warming that will worsen without environmental policy changes. Robert Brulle, professor of sociology and environmental science at Drexel University, said a GOP-led Congress is more likely to try to stop Obama's Environmental Protection Agency from imposing new regulations on power plants than endorsing any additional steps to reduce U.S. carbon pollution. Said Brulle: "I am not an optimist about us doing anything - I think it looks bad for political action on climate change in any way." –Will Bunsch, Philadelphia Daily News, 5 November 2014



The $12 million that the United States Senate has allocated to UN climate agencies is expected to be among the first casualties [after] Republican take control of the chamber following Tuesday’s midterm elections. The current Senate bill on funding for state and foreign operations includes $11,700,000 for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). However, the House version of the bill passed by a Republican-controlled sub-committee, states that “none of the funds in this Act may be made available for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change/United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.” --Denis Fitzgerald, 
UN Tribune, 4 November 2014
 
 

The Keystone XL pipeline won big Tuesday night. Following an election night that saw anti-Keystone Democrats replaced by pro-Keystone Republicans, the oil-sands pipeline project now appears to have at least 60 supporting votes. That means legislation forcing approval of the long-delayed project may be headed to President Obama. Before the election, at least 57 senators could be counted on to support pro-Keystone legislation, but that was never enough to beat a filibuster from the project's opponents. Tuesday night's results appear to change that. --Clare Foran, National Journal, 5 November 2014
 
 
 
The expected Republican majority in the U.S. Senate after Tuesday's mid-term elections is likely to seek to roll back federal regulations on power-plant emissions, approve the Keystone XL pipeline, expand oil and gas development on federal lands and work toward ending the 40-year ban on U.S. crude oil exports, energy experts said. "The Republicans will go to Obama and say, look, 'We've got to get this done; your own government is saying this is fine. The election is over so you don't have to worry,'" Lynch said. --Jon Hurdle, The Street, 4 November 2014



President Obama will continue to take action on policies to fight climate change whether or not Republicans take control of the Senate, the White House said. White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday that Obama plans to keep using his executive powers to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. “The president will use his executive action to take some additional steps.” --Timothy Cama, 
The Hill, 4 November 2014

 
Soon, politicians won't be able to avoid the issue.
 
 
1) Powerful Green Lobby Defeated In US Midterm Elections - Politico, 5 November 2015
 
2) Republican Senate Likely To Nix Funding For UN Climate Agencies After Election Victory - UN Tribune, 4 November 2014
 
3) This Election's Top Donor Is an Environmentalist. So Where Are the Results? - New Republic, 4 November 2014
 
4) U.S. Senate Has A Filibuster-Proof Pro-Keystone XL Majority - National Journal, 5 November 2014
 
5) White House: Republican Senate Won't Stop Obama's Climate Aganeda - The Hill, 4 November 2014
 
6) Republican Senate Majority Would Hit EPA, Push for Keystone Approval
The Street, 4 November 2014
 
 
 
 
1) Powerful Green Lobby Defeated In US Midterm Elections
Politico, 5 November 2015
 
Andrew Restuccia
 
For Tom Steyer and other environmentalists, $85 million wasn’t enough to help Democrats keep the Senate blue or win more than a single governor’s mansion in Tuesday’s toughest races.
 
The billionaire’s super PAC and other green groups saw the vast majority of their favored candidates in the battleground states go down to defeat, despite spending an unprecedented amount of money to help climate-friendly Democrats in the midterm elections.
 
Just two of the six vulnerable Democratic Senate candidates backed by various green groups — New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Michigan Rep. Gary Peters — prevailed Tuesday, while Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan and Iowa hopeful Bruce Braley lost. [Alaska Sen. Mark Begich also appears to have lost to Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan]
 
Of the environmentalists’ preferred gubernatorial candidates in the high-profile races, just one — Pennsylvania Democrat Tom Wolf — won on Tuesday. Florida’s Charlie Crist, Wisconsin’s Mary Burke, Michigan’s Mark Schauer and Maine’s Michael Michaud all failed to unseat GOP incumbents.
 
The outcome brought gloating from Republicans and fossil-fuel supporters even before the results rolled in — and raised questions about whether greens can fulfill their pledge to make climate change a decisive campaign issue in 2016.
 
Full story
 
 
 
 
2) Republican Senate Likely To Nix Funding For UN Climate Agencies After Election Victory
UN Tribune, 4 November 2014
 
Denis Fitzgerald
 
The $12 million that the United States Senate has allocated to UN climate agencies is expected to be among the first casualties if Republican take control of the chamber following Tuesday’s midterm elections.
 
The current Senate bill on funding for state and foreign operations includes $11,700,000 for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). The bill was approved by the current Democrat-controlled sub-committee in June but has yet to be put to a full vote.
 
However, the House version of the bill passed by a Republican-controlled sub-committee, also in June, states that “none of the funds in this Act may be made available for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change/United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”
 
While the sum involved is miniscule compared to the overall $48 billion budget approved by both sub-committees, it represents a combined one-third of the $7 million IPCC and $26 million UNFCC budgets.
 
The pulling of this funding will be a big blow to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ahead of next year’s climate talks in Paris. Ban has made climate change his signature issue and is hoping that a global pact can be agreed before he steps down in 2016.
 
Full story
 
 
 
 
3) This Election's Top Donor Is an Environmentalist. So Where Are the Results?
New Republic, 4 November 2014
 
Rebecca Leber
 
Environmental groups have spent an unprecedented $85 million on the 2014 midterms. Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer has donated at least $50 million to green groups through his super PAC NextGen Climate Action, making him the single-largest known donor this election cycle. (Unlike conservative activists Charles and David Koch’s contributions to political nonprofits—Steyer’s donations are fully disclosed.)
 
And yet, it appears that all this money failed to make the environment a top priority. “Climate change is like an afterthought in the wider message, which is a tacit admission that on its own it doesn't move the dial," Republican strategist Josh Penry told Reuters. “It is very difficult to find an issue that voters place lower on the list than climate change,” GOP pollster Whit Ayres told the New York Times. “It vies with gay marriage and campaign finance reform as the least important issue. Most voters care about jobs, economic growth, health care and immigration.”
 
Green groups will also likely fail to elect candidates sympathetic toward climate issues. Half of green groups' $85 million has gone to Senate races (in New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado, Alaska, North Carolina, and Michigan) where Democrats might lose. If Senator Mitch McConnell’s becomes Majority Leader, one of his top priorities is environmental deregulation. So it’s easy to call environmentalists’ strategy this year a total failure.
 
But the calculus is not that simple. Climate change may not be the top issue this cycle. Green groups may not see their preferred candidates winning any close contests. But the unprecedented spending has kept Republicans off-balance. And it has shown that environmentalists are adapting their message for an electorate that is growing.
 
Full story
 
 
 
 
 
4) U.S. Senate Has A Filibuster-Proof Pro-Keystone XL Majority
National Journal, 5 November 2014
 
Clare Foran
 
The Keystone XL pipeline won big Tuesday night.
 
Following an election night that saw anti-Keystone Democrats replaced by pro-Keystone Republicans, the oil-sands pipeline project now appears to have at least 60 supporting votes. That means legislation forcing approval of the long-delayed project may be headed to President Obama. Before the election, at least 57 senators could be counted on to support pro-Keystone legislation, but that was never enough to beat a filibuster from the project's opponents.
 
Tuesday night's results appear to change that.
 
Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia will replace retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat who has voted against the pipeline's approval.
Republican Rep. Cory Gardner defeated Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado, who has also previously voted against the project. In Iowa's Senate race, Republican Joni Ernst will take the seat previously occupied by anti-Keystone Democrat Tom Harkin. And in South Dakota, Republican Mike Rounds will take retiring the seat of Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, who has wavered in his support for legislation that would guarantee the project's approval, saying the decision to approve or deny the project should be left to the administration.
 
And none of the 57 seats that were held by pro-Keystone lawmakers were surrendered to anti-pipeline newcomers.
 
Keystone's Senate champions were watching the whip count Tuesday and came away enthused: "This really drives home the overwhelming support we have for Keystone. I think you're going to see us bring up energy legislation right away and Keystone will be one of the first things we pass," said Republican Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota.
 
House Republicans have all the votes they need to approve pro-Keystone measures and indeed did so on several occasions last Congress. So in the Congress to come, it appears that—absent a change of heart or unexpected Senate exit from one of the project's supporters—the last hurdle to Keystone legislation is a veto from Obama.
 
Full story
 
 
 
5) White House: Republican Senate Won't Stop Obama's Climate Agenda 
The Hill, 4 November 2014
 
Timothy Cama
 
President Obama will continue to take action on policies to fight climate change whether or not Republicans take control of the Senate, the White House said.
 
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday that Obama plans to keep using his executive powers to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
 
 “There are too many Republicans in Congress who even deny the basic scientific fact that climate change is occurring and something that policymakers should be concerned about,” Earnest said.
 
“So the president will use his executive action to take some additional steps.”
 
Full story
 
 
 
 
6) Republican Senate Majority Would Hit EPA, Push for Keystone Approval
The Street, 4 November 2014
 
Jon Hurdle
 
The expected Republican majority in the U.S. Senate after Tuesday's mid-term elections is likely to seek to roll back federal regulations on power-plant emissions, approve the Keystone XL pipeline, expand oil and gas development on federal lands and work toward ending the 40-year ban on U.S. crude oil exports, energy experts said.
 
EPA regulations requiring big cuts in power-plant carbon emissions will be a major target of a new Republican-controlled Congress, said a former House Republican staffer who spoke on condition of anonymity.
 
"There will be a lot of oversight and legislation aimed at the EPA regulations," the former staffer said. He also predicted that Keystone "will keep coming up until it's approved" and that federal lands will be increasing opened up for oil and gas drilling.
 
Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research, a consulting firm in Amherst, Mass., predicted the administration will approve Keystone in response to renewed Republican pressure and lower political risk after the mid-term elections.
 
"The Republicans will go to Obama and say, look, 'We've got to get this done; your own government is saying this is fine. The election is over so you don't have to worry,'" Lynch said.
 
The predicted GOP Senate majority will also likely try to end the 40-year ban on U.S. crude oil exports, said David Goldwyn, president of Goldwyn Global Strategies, a consulting firm.
 
Goldwyn, who advised former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on energy policy, argued that Republican lawmakers may well push for scrapping the ban -- which was imposed in response to the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s -- because selling oil overseas would help to sustain the current boom in U.S. oil and gas production.
 
Full story
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