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Senate votes: Kill the climate, threaten China

A free-for-all in the America Competes Act vote-a-rama last night.


The United States has officially crossed one million deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic, which was noted with a lack of headlines across the nation. At the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last Saturday, Beltway reporters and politicos stuffed into an airless ballroom—CO2 readings reached 2233 PPMgiving each other the disease, including Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, ABC chief Washington correspondent Jon Karl, Voice of America chief correspondent Steve Herman, as well as staff from CNN, NBC News, CBS News and Politico.

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate, ostensibly under Democratic control, worked through its version of the America Competes Act, which is primarily about providing subsidies to revitalize the domestic semiconductor industry. With the support of several Democrats, Republicans were able to tack on several wildly anti-climate, pro-fossil-fuel provisions:

  • By 53 yeas to 44 nays (Vote No. 148), Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)’s “provisions that require immediate development of a 2022–2027 Federal oil and gas leasing program on the outer Continental Shelf.” The drill-baby-drill Democrats: Joe Manchin of West Virginia, John Hickenlooper of Colorado, and Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

  • By 50 yeas to 44 nays (Vote No. 151), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)’s redirection of $8 billion intended for the Green Climate Fund to instead fund anti-Chinese weapon systems. Manchin was the one Democrat in favor.

  • By 49 yeas to 47 nays (Vote No. 157), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.)’s provisions to affirm that the president may not declare a national emergency, disaster, public health emergency, or invoke the Defense Production Act “on the basis of climate change.” So much for heat pumps for peace and freedom! Kelly and Manchin were the Democrats voting in favor.

Democrats didn’t even bother to force a recorded vote on two more measures, which were approved by voice vote:

  • Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska)’s prohibition on federally funded renewable projects from “purchasing materials, technology, or critical minerals mined, produced, processed, or refined” in China—e.g., almost all of the solar panels now made.

  • Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana)’s motion to “reject provisions that weaken the energy security of the United States, prohibit the development of an all-of-the-above energy portfolio, or direct funds to foreign entities for international climate objectives.”

These provisions are are all “instructions” to the conference committee that will negotiate the differences between the House and Senate versions. The Senate delegation to the conference committee is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, but Hickenlooper and Kelly are on the committee, giving the anti-climate contingent a majority.

BURNT NEW DEAL: President Joe Biden (so far, not positive for covid) approved a federal disaster declaration for the still-growing New Mexico wildfires, fueled by the burning of fossil fuels. The bipartisan infrastructure law signed by Biden in November “includes $600 million to boost firefighter pay and convert seasonal firefighters to permanent, year-round employees,” which is desperately needed as “years of underfunding, pay parity concerns and decaying facilities and equipment” present “an existential threat to the federal wildland fire program.”

In the Guardian, Leanna First-Arai reports that the New Mexico oil and gas industry responsible for fueling the fires is running a broad advertising campaign across Facebook and other platforms taking credit for the state’s public schools.

Shell reported a record first-quarter profit of $9.1 billion this morning, even after writing down $3.9 billion in Russian assets. The company handed most of those profits to its shareholders, with $5.4 billion in dividends and buybacks.

Flash floods and tornadoes ripped through rural Texas and Oklahoma on Wednesday, hitting trucks, houses, and a marijuana farm. The region is now the tornadic hotspot of the United States, which has shifted due to greenhouse pollution.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is killing piping plovers. Global gas flaring is going up. The 2021 western North America heat wave among the most extreme events ever recorded globally. The corrupt National Wildlife Federation is refusing to rescind its endorsement of the anti-tree crypto-bro Carrick Flynn, because who the hell knows why. But they did delete their endorsement tweet!

Hearings on the Hill:

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