Drawing a line in the sand.
—by John deJong
Last month Elise Lazar, a good friend of ours (and one of the CATALYST100 featured in Jan.), conceived of the radical notion of speaking, in person, with Orrin Hatch, the very senior United States Senator from Utah, about the Keylstone XL Pipeline. You may have heard about her run-in with Senator Hatch’s staff and her place on the Washington, D.C. police department’s “most persistent constituents of the week” list from the SL Tribune’s Paul Rolly or on the Huffington Post. It’s the first thing you get if you google hatch_washington_dc_police.
Elise’s mistake was her belief that Sen. Hatch would deign to waste his time listening to her views on a subject that was decided for him a long time ago. Hatch took $429,050 from the oil & gas industry in the 2012 election cycle. He spent $4 million of the nearly $12 million he raised on two campaign consulting groups staffed with some of the worst apologists for the dirty fuel industry this side of the Potomac.
Orrin probably thinks he’d be wasting his time listening to a constituent. And time is money. To raise $12 million in campaign contributions you’ve got to bring in $6,451 each and every day, except Sundays of course, for the entire six-year election cycle.
What do you think Sen. Hatch will be doing when he makes his next trip to Utah? Listening to constituents or to contributors?
In his defense, Sen. Hatch has made it no secret that his government relations services are available for the right contribution. In 2000 he took Microsoft and Bill Gates to task for their paltry campaign contributions, saying, as reported in the Washington Examiner, “If you want to get involved in business, you should get involved in politics.” Thirteen years later, business on Washington’s lobbyist-infested K Street has never been better.
Oil shale is just about the dirtiest energy around. But the real problem with the proposed $7 billion Keystone, from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf, is the legitimacy it lends to the idea that we are hopelessly addicted to fossil fuels and that we, as a nation, will do anything necessary to to get our next fix.
Like mining oil shale in eastern Utah and western Colorado.
Guess who is the dealer’s shill, bought and paid for?
No, he doesn’t have time to listen to you, Elise.