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Published on June 20th, 2010 | by Susan Kraemer

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Greentech Stategic "Investment" in a Plutocracy

June 20th, 2010 by  


In a plutocracy like America, the corporations with the most money to bribe the government get to dictate government policies. The five richest corporations in the world are the dirty energy companies: so they dictate energy policy in the US.

We may find this distasteful, but there is little Americans in the new clean energy industry can do other than try to better focus our more puny government bribes to better compete with the dirty energy bribes. A few key votes should be funded, rather than squandering funds where they simply don’t make any impact, if we want to change the way this nation gets energy.

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Below the fold, I list the detailed voting history that shows where every dollar would have the most impact on the outcome of climate/clean energy legislation. The clean energy voter has no money to waste. Here is where every dollar needs to be focused and why.

Don’t waste money on the House

There is an adequately Democratic majority in the House, so that getting clean energy policy through the House is not a problem. There’s something like 290 pieces of legislation already passed in the House, waiting to be thrown at the Republican filibuster in the Senate. In the House, a majority is enough to pass legislation.

Don’t waste money on the clean states

The renewable energy industry needs to understand how the Senate works. It gives an equal voice to states that are almost devoid of voters. These ’empty’ states typically have powerful fossil energy industries so their representation in the Senate is entirely fossil industry fueled: Alaska, Wyoming, Nebraska, etc. If you are in a state with a Senator who supports clean energy, spend money on the dirty state swing-vote Senators, don’t waste it on your Senator in a clean energy state.

Don’t waste money on the choir

Look at voting records. Senators who have supported renewable energy policy for 20 years will still do so without your measly $4,000 or so in funds. Sanders, Schumer and Boxer are not going to suddenly prefer oil companies over green energy.

Don’t waste money on lost causes

Why would anyone in the renewable energy industry spend money on Republican Leader Mitch McConnell? Somebody did. That was money down the drain. The vast majority of Republicans have never voted for and will never vote for clean energy. But most especially the filibusterer-in-chief.

The Republican filibuster is all that matters

In the normal way that democracy operates, the minority party cannot prevent a vote from happening. But Republicans don’t allow the normal majority vote when they are not in the majority. Since Clinton/Gore, they now consistently misuse a vote-to-vote procedural rule (the filibuster-ending “cloture” vote) to prevent all legislation from even coming up for an up-or-down vote. They are funded by the dirty energy industry. To overcome this, therefor, it is essential to know which Republicans have ever actually broken filibuster ranks. The list is below.

Coordinate with other renewable energy funds

Gather the other likely funds and work together to throw a bigger sum at fewer Senators to make the impact felt. Climate policy helps solar businesses equally as well as it does wind and geothermal ones. Don’t worry about detail. Look at the big picture. It’s not your industry against the other renewables, or your state versus the other ones. It’s a battle between clean versus dirty energy.

Target contributions to key swing vote Senators

Forget all the Republicans except just the few who have sometimes voted for clean energy. Forget nearly all of the Democrats (because they have voted for clean energy for decades and you don’t have to worry about them). Instead, focus your funding on the few (on both sides) who are on the fence.

Who to spend on?

Now take all the money wasted on the irrelevant, the filibusterers and the choir and instead send it to just these Senate swing votes. These are based on actual Senate clean energy votes; not just Senators’ blather to the media, for example Murkowski, McCain and Graham who have never actually broken the Republican filibuster against clean energy.

Bad Democrats and good Republicans.

Forget if you never voted for a Republican (or a Democrat) before, let alone one that goes against party: hold your nose and go for it.

Specter (R-D PA) Now a lame duck despite party change to match votes (PA Democrats picked a real Democrat to run). Fairly consistent good vote for clean energy like against letting coal states weaken EPA water rules over the years. But given his record is unlikely to reap a fossil lobbying job after he leaves, so has nothing to lose by altruistic behavior till January.

Ensign (R-NV) Occasionally flouted party filibuster, like on this early Renewable Energy Standard (RES) attempt.

Greg (R-NH) Generally a No, but least one vote against his party filibuster (on a subsequent attempt to pass an RES).

Corker (R-TN) Also occasional clean energy vote against his party filibuster.

Brown (R-MA) New so no actual renewables voting record yet, but shows promise by bucking the Republican  filibuster on other “public good” type votes – despite Murky Air Act “vote”.

Lugar (R-IN) Near lone Yes vote on McCain’s only (somewhat) clean energy vote: his universally unpopular (primarily nuclear) cap-and-trade proposal.

Grassley (R-IA) Wind contributes 15% of Iowa power; he has sometimes voted against  climate vote filibuster.

Voinovich (R-OH) Occasionally votes correctly, like on taxing fossil industry to help the poor pay for heating.

LeMieux (R-FL) Recently had a visceral reaction to oil despoiling his tourist-dependent state, may now be at a tipping point.

Collins and Snowe (R-ME) Normally the “choir” long-time reliably pro clean energy voters from a 55% renewable state. But both sent out a warning shot by joining their party with bad recent Murky Air Act votes.

Dorgan (D-ND) Empty 90% coal-powered state, some bad bad votes: for example evaded an easy wind NIMBY-prevention vote despite huge state wind potential, (was not campaigning in a primary or sick or dying as are most Not Voting Senators). Nothing to lose because quitting seat.

Bayh (D-IN) Also quitting a coal state, but one with people in it as well; to help counteract the fossil vote. One of the few to support the McCain nuclear cap-and-trade bill. Not a bad swing voter, considering 90% coal-powered state, for example turned down Inhofe’s let’s call coal fuel “renewable” bill.

Rockefeller (D-WV) Another clean voter in a coal state, joined Bayh in that brave vote against a form of coal fuel with much more emissions than gasoline, and also the subsequent vote to define “renewable” fuel as “not harmful to the environment”.

Lincoln (D-AK) Probably losing to an actual Republican in November, her voting record changed for the worse under heavy funding recently by the fossil industry and is likely move to lobbying next. But had been a consistent Yes on climate and environment till recently and has shown she has a conscience.

Stabenow (D-MI) Bucked even most Republicans in voting against even the very watered-down final CAFE bill, but usually a clean energy Yes (and in the meantime Detroit was bankrupted by dirty cars anyway, so she has less pressure to go wrong now), as for example; tax oil companies and rebate to consumer (later became Cantwell-Collins’ cap-and-dividend idea).

Landrieu (D-LA) Spotty record. Sometimes has voted against party for dirty energy. Expensive to overcome her Inhofe-like level of fossil funding but an overall good record on clean energy considering that level of funding, so worth a counter-investment.

Image: Greenpeace 
 
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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



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