The 114th Congress started its session just over a month ago, and it seems like much of that month has been spent debating one thing: the Keystone XL pipeline and the long list of amendments attached to the bill approving its construction.
Now, a new scorecard from the League of Conservation Voters outlines how each U.S. Senator voted on the Keystone XL bill and 20 of its amendments, which included a provision stating that “climate change is real and not a hoax,” and one that sought to protect landowners along the pipeline’s path from getting their land seized through eminent domain.
The LCV typically releases yearly scorecards on members of congress’ votes on key pieces of environmental legislation. This is the second time the group has released a scorecard centered around one specific piece of legislation.
“This one just couldn’t wait until the end of the year. We want to make sure people know right now that Republican leaders chose as their very first priority for 2015 a bill designed simply to benefit their polluter allies,” LCV President Gene Karpinski said in a statement.
According to the scorecard, 32 senators earned a perfect score — meaning that they cast their votes for the most environmentally-friendly option of an amendment 100 percent of the time — and 37 senators earned a 0 percent score. The LCV also calculated the average score for Democratic senators as 93 percent, and the average score for Republican senators as less than 5 percent.
Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) was one of the lawmakers who received a 0 percent score. Inhofe, an outspoken climate denier who has said before that climate change is a hoax, sponsored a resolution that stated that “climate change is real and not a hoax.” That might sound like a progressive move from the senator, but before the resolution was voted on, Inhofe said on the Senate floor that, though the climate is — and always has been — changing, it wasn’t due to human activity.
“The hoax is that there are some people that are so arrogant to think that they are so powerful that they can change climate,” he said.
The Senate approved the Keystone XL bill last week, and the bill will be taken up in the House next week. President Obama has promised to veto pro-Keystone legislation if it ended up on his desk, so even if this bill is passed by the House, it’s not likely it’ll make much of a difference in the Keystone XL decision process.
Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to the State Department that outlined reasons why completing the Keystone XL pipeline is a risky investment for the U.S. The letter included mentions of its estimated greenhouse gas emissions, and the current variability of the oil market. The letter could be key for President Obama, who has said before that he’d only approve the pipeline if it didn’t “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”