QUERY : Who is Minnesota’s Man For the Environment ?
While an election may be a one day event, rewarding “your candidate” seems to be an everyday event … after all, keeping “your candidate” happy, means maintaining your influence.
As posted last month, Chairman Kline was favored with a campaign contribution from the Voice For Trees PAC … however, that needs to be updated, since Chairman Kline appears to be on a quest to make fundraising the measuring stick for re-elections, the Voice For Trees PAC made another contribution on December 18th.
For those that forgot, the Voice For Trees PAC was formed to amplify the tree care industry’s influence on Capitol Hill to promote the legislative and regulatory climate effecting the green industry – more about making sure the gavel is held by someone that they trust when employee safety is questioned … it ain’t about planting twigs — no, Johnny Kline will never be mistaken for Johnny Appleseed.
While Chairman Kline was no doubt pleased to receive the check, the release of the 2013 National Environmental Scorecard by the League of Conservation Voters may not have produced that same smile. (or maybe it did?)
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) considered 28 roll call votes and John (Voice For Trees) Kline got a ZERO … 0 for 28.
Are you Shocked ?
Or Impressed ?
Well, ZERO is something but actually that represents a lower score than John Kline received as part of the 112th Congress when he graded out at 6%.
The 113th Congress-First Session Scorecard comes at a time when the planet confronts another record-breaking year of climate changes, yet there are still more than 100 climate change deniers serving in Congress. (Yeah, it may be cold outside, but this is “climate change” in which waters rise effecting weather patterns … let’s stop calling it “global warming“.)
“There is a jarring disconnect between the frightening climate change developments of 2013 and the results of the 2013 National Environmental Scorecard,” said LCV President Gene Karpinski. “With myriad anti-environmental attacks and record dysfunction culminating in a government shutdown, the 2013 Scorecard largely reflects a failure to act.”
Ranging from public health protections to clean energy to land and wildlife conservation, the scorecard considered 28 roll call votes — with specific roll call votes related to nuclear energy, clean water, coal ash, mountaintop mining (surface mining), offshore drilling, expansion of logging, and of course, the Keystone XL pipeline.
By using specific roll call votes allows for amendments to be factored in … this is key, since the final bill may be a compromise bill … the amendments really tell where a Member stands.
Reviewing the Scorecard, there are some issues that Minnesotans know John Kline’s view — drilling in offshore waters (i.e. Virginia) and the Keystone pipeline, but there may be some in our backyard that voters may not be aware.
For example, H.R. 761 the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2013 would roll back critical environmental protections on public lands, making it easier for multinational mining corporations to exploit our precious natural resources. H.R. 761 covers all mineral resources, thus it would allow for new sulfide mining projects to be granted a speedy permit. Sulfide mining, which extracts minerals like copper and nickel from sulfide ore, presents incredible environmental and health concerns. Toxic pollution in the form of acid mine drainage threatens critical habitats and prime groundwater sources. News followers already know about the PolyMet develop sulfide mining projects in the Lake Superior watershed.
John Kline sponsored and the Republican-controlled House approved the measure.
The argument can be made “jobs -vs- environment” … or it can be made, “how is the best way to ensure that companies operate in a manner that promotes worker safety and safe communities”.
Influencing that discussion is where political contributions come in.
And when mining is being discussed, Chairman Kline has a lot of dollars being sent his way.
American Coal Company ($250 from Mr. Daniel Couch; $500 from Daryl Tolbert; $800 from J. Nelson Wood)
American Energy Corp ($250 from Kevin R Hughes; $500 from Ronald O. Van Horne)
Boich Companies ($5200 from Ms. Cynthia Boich; $5200 from Ms. Emeline I. Boich; $5200 from Mr. Wayne Boich)
Global Mine Service Inc ($1000 from Timothy Smith)
Jennmar Corp ($2500 from Frank Calandra, Jr; $1000 from Mr. Karl Anthony Calandra; $500 from Mr. Michael F Calandra; $500 from Mr. John Rodney Poland; $1000 from John Stankus; $1500 from Mr. Daniel C Statler)
Missco Inc ($900 from Lewis Nicholson)
Murray Energy Corporation ($2400 from Robert Moore; $2600 from Robert Murray; $250 from Andrew W Cox; $800 from Scott Haney)
Ohio Valley Coal Company ($700 from Michael Loiacono; $250 from Ernest Martin)
Special Mine Services ($300 from Steve Simmons)
UtahAmerican Energy Inc ($400 from Darrell Leonard)
Koch Industries Inc. PAC ($2500)
Murray Energy PAC ($5000)
Minnesota companies ??? Heck, these contributions are not even from Minnesotans — with that outside state money, it is no wonder that John Kline ranked #31 for highest House campaign recipients.
While many may be familiar with the Koch brothers, Robert Murray may be known as well …. unless you are aware of his company’s involvement in various mining deaths and fines (i.e. Crandall Canyon mine disaster ) and also for his fundraising tactics “Coal Miner’s Donor: A Mitt Romney benefactor and his surprisingly generous donors” which lead to a criminal investigation request.
With Chairman Kline holding the gavel, silence is the action when mining disasters occur … heck, even the recent Elk River chemical spill leaving 300,000 West Virginians without clean water was met with silence.
However, Chairman Kline is also vocal … strongly denouncing the Environmental Protection Agency and any effort to promulgating any regulation concerning the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change.
Chairman Kline is also not opposed to writing his colleagues to terminate tax credits for wind energy.
His benefactors like Chairman Kline and want him to retain that gavel.
However, Chairman Kline does have his detractors … such as Sun This Week letter writer, Judy Finger :
Mike Obermueller, who is running for Congress in the 2nd District, has said we must re-train the long-term unemployed, and develop an economy where energy alternatives begin to yield the jobs they are producing in Europe and elsewhere. Clean and renewable energy is in our future, and we can prepare for it by reducing expensive subsidies for already-successful traditional fuels.
Obermueller says American ingenuity has led the way with innovation in the past and we can do that again. In the case of alternative energy, we can use our entrepreneurial skills to design ways to clean up our fragile environment. Our marketing genius can help us catch Germany and France and use the energy reserves available in our resource-rich country.
And that letter was sent out before the LCV Scorecard was released or tweeted about
— Mike Obermueller (@Obermueller2014) February 12, 2014
The LCV Scorecard just confirms a pattern … as noted by back in 2010, Steve Quist at MNDem wrote that “The outdoors is a part of Minnesota’s heritage. It is imperative that we protect it so we can pass it on to new generations of Minnesotans who will love it.”
That comment was made after the group, Conservation Minnesota, released congressional ratings for 2009 determining that John Kline had a ZERO environmental support rating.
Add to that the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) honored members of Congress with the Friend of the National Parks Award for their contribution to protecting and enhancing America’s national parks — Chairman Kline did not get an award as he graded out at ZERO.
Yep, a ZERO rating sounds bad … but it can mean big bucks … with outside money telling us “Who is Minnesota’s Man For THEIR Environment.