When we see some of the tectonic changes forced on the world’s largest oil companies, it is easy to start to feel optimistic.
At shareholder meetings for Exxon and Chevron, astute activist investors forced climate activists on to the boards of directors of these companies. And in the Netherlands, Royal Dutch Shell was subjected to a high court ruling that now requires them to radically reduce their emissions world wide.
That optimism rapidly diminishes when we look at the US Senate where, even though in the minority, the party most engaged in support of the fossil fuel status quo and which stands in opposition to environmental health holds sway.
On the short term, our attention is drawn by the obvious and transparent efforts of the voter suppression measures being forwarded and passed in Republican-dominated states. But the implications of these measures on our environment and climate change are even more ominous.
The Republican efforts to suppress voter participation in future elections appears to be all about holding on to power where they have it and regaining it where they lost it. But it is more than that.
The large donor groups that are bank rolling the efforts at voter suppression have a vested interest in forestalling all progressive legislation that affects change of policies on climate and pollution. The Koch interests are a case in point. Not only is Koch industries one of the largest privately held oil producers in the world, they are also in the lumber business, cattle ranching, oil refining, paper product manufacturing, chemical and plastic products, you name it. Enforcing environmental regulation is considered anathema to the Koch business model and this has resulted in their decades-long funding of any and all measures to weaken and remove regulations designed to protect the planet and us.
The linchpin to Republican opposition to progressive legislation is the filibuster. Much has been written about the filibuster and how it works. It is possible to undo it. Majority Leader Schumer can do it quite quickly with a vote of 51 Senators. But he has to have the 51 votes.
Two Democratic Party Senators, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, stand opposed. The time has come put all efforts into moving these two into support of removal of the filibuster. We can not allow two Senators to hold America and the world hostage to oil and energy interests any longer.
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