With the special election to fill John Kerry's U.S. Senate seat scheduled for tomorrow in Massachusetts, and with
"Green Billionaire" Tom Steyer active both in that campaign (assisting Rep. Ed Markey) and also in a broader effort to rally supporters of President Obama for action against climate change (and the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, specifically), it seems like a quick summary of what Mr. Steyer's efforts is in order.
- On June 20, Steyer appeared at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, where he "unveiled We Love Our Land, a first-of-its-kind digital campaign to engage President Barack Obama’s online supporters, including Organizing for America members, in helping the Administration protect the public interest by rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline."
- In that same press conference, Steyer presented a sample of tar sands oil from the March 2013 spill in Mayflower, Arkansas to "give attendees an idea of what it might be like to have the thick, sticky noxious-smelling substance spilled in their community." Steyer also commissioned the first independent chemical analysis of the tar sands, which found that it contained "highly toxic substances: benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, xylene, chromium and lead."
- Steyer has also written an open letter to President Obama, which argues that "Over the last year, each of the policy arguments for the [Keystone XL tar sands] pipeline has cratered," and that he plans to be "working with our friends and allies who are opposed to the development of Keystone XL tointensify our efforts in communicating what is the right policy choice to your Administration."
- Steyer is also involving himself in political campaigns for two main reasons: 1) he believes strongly that "climate change is 'the defining issue of our time' and that blocking construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is pivotal to the nation's environmental health and future;" and 2) he understands that we need champions in Congress if we're going to make progress on heading off climate change catastrophe and on switching from dirty to clean energy.
- One prominent political campaign Steyer has been involved with is the U.S. Senate special election in Massachusetts, scheduled for tomorrow, to fill John Kerry's seat. Steyer is supporting Rep. Ed Markey, who has been a leader in promoting clean energy and climate action. A new poll has Markey leading by 10 points, 52%-42%.
Let's hope that Mr. Steyer succeeds in his efforts, both tomorrow in Massachusetts and more broadly with regard to clean energy and climate change.