Tuesday’s election will help determine our climate future

Below are two action requests related to Tuesday’s election, which will influence the course for climate action (or inaction) at the federal level.

From Environment America:

If we don’t do more in the next few days, politicians who deny the science behind climate change and want to dismantle EPA programs will win control of the U.S. Congress.[1][2]

That’s why we decided to get involved in this election. And with only a few days to go, we’re pulling out all the stops. Can you chip in today?

Yes, I’ll chip in to keep anti-science, anti-environmental politicians from taking control of Congress.

Imagine Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader. He’s the coal industry’s best friend in Washington — and McConnell already has said he’ll risk shutting down the government to force President Obama to back off on clean water and global warming.[3]

Whether Sen. McConnell gains this power depends on what happens in a few key states, where environmental champions are in danger of losing to candidates who pooh-pooh climate science, demonize the EPA, and pledge allegiance to the oil industry.[4][5]

We’re putting more organizers on the ground to educate and turn out voters on these issues in the last crucial days. But honestly, we need all the help we can get and we need it now.

Yes, I’ll make a donation. On November 5, we’ll focus 100% on the advocacy and grassroots action we’re known best for. Until then, we’re doing all we can to keep those who want to take our environment in the wrong direction from taking more power in Washington.

I hope you join us.

Margie Alt
Environment America and Environment America Voter Action

[1]”First On 2014 Congressional Agenda: Dismantle EPA Protections That Save Lives”, DeSmog Blog, Jan. 14, 2014.
[2] “Midterm elections’ impact on U.S. energy, environment agenda,” Bakken.com, October 30, 2014.
[3]“McConnell’s plan to shut down Obama,” Politico, August 20, 2014.
[4]“GOP candidates straddle the climate change issue,” Sacramento Bee, October 25, 2014.
[5]“GOP Congress would likely push back on EPA rules,” Real Clear Politics, October 16, 2014.

And this from 350.org:

For the first time in a long time, climate change is a key issue in many of the races that will be decided on Tuesday. Your voice really matters.

Here are two things you can do:

1) Pledge to vote for climate action, and tell your friends to do the same. The climate movement can make a difference in this election — if we turn out in force.

The impacts of climate change get more dramatic by the day, and the influence of the fossil fuel industry continues to warp our ability to see real solutions. But the climate movement is starting to be a force to be reckoned with. Usually we send you emails asking you to join marches, sit ins, trainings, or rallies. We believe those are vital ways of demonstrating and growing power — and we believe that voting is another crucial tool.

2) Help South Dakota’s No KXL coalition swing the Senate.

That’s right: there’s one local race that could have a huge impact nationally — and you have an opportunity to be part of it now, no matter where you live. In the last couple of weeks, we got word from our allies in South Dakota that the race for Senate there is way closer than people think. Rick Weiland has come out strong against the Keystone XL pipeline and in favor of climate action. It turns out his progressive, anti-Keystone message is resonating with voters across the state, and especially with tribal leaders who have played a crucial role in the resistance against KXL.

Right now, there’s a Native-led grassroots coalition called “Lakota Vote” working to turn out record numbers of people through an eleventh-hour grassroots campaign in Lakota Sioux communities. Native American votes could decide the race in South Dakota this year, and a win in South Dakota could swing the Senate against Keystone.

This year’s election will determine the political playing field during a period when our democracy must grapple with one of the most dangerous and complex threats we’ve ever faced. We don’t have much time to act on climate, and these next few years are a precious window. November 4th could determine whether that window opens or closes.

And for a bit of analysis:

Could a Republican Senate derail Obama’s climate agenda?

ClimateWire | Nathanael Massey

With only a week to go before the 2014 midterm elections, polling from key battleground states indicates a small but widening advantage for Republicans. A six-seat net gain in the Senate would put both chambers of Congress under GOP control, uniting the two houses in opposition to many of the hallmark policies of the Obama presidency, including rules to curb carbon emissions from the nation’s power sector.

Whether a Republican Senate could seriously imperil the president’s Climate Action Plan, as the party’s leadership has promised to do, is another matter. Both House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have indicated in the past several months that climate regulation proposed by U.S. EPA, and specifically the Clean Power Plan (CPP), would be a prime target if Republicans gain control of the Senate. Both responded to the CPP’s proposal in early June by proposing legislation to curb or weaken the rule, although those proposals died in the Senate.

But even if Republicans take the Senate next week, the leadership’s ambitions will likely run up against the basic math of the legislative process. If Republicans pick up the six seats they need to gain control of the Senate, they’ll still be shy of the three-fifths majority needed to override filibusters by Democrats.

And while enough coal-state Democrats might conceivably be swayed across the aisle to beat a filibuster on climate regulation, “it’s hard to think of a plausible scenario where you end up with a [two-thirds] supermajority” needed to override a presidential veto, said Nathan Richardson, an assistant professor at the South Carolina School of Law.

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