As President Barack Obama vetoes a bill forcing approval of the long-planned and highly contentious Keystone XL pipeline this week, editorial cartoonist Bill Day shows us the REAL pipeline in politics.
Money; and lots of it.
Blocking such a high-profile energy project, environmental activists had a crucial victory in Keystone, which proved they can overcome strong opposition from Republican supporters, a handful of members of the Democratic Party and the will of many voters.
In recent opinion polls, most Americans favored building Keystone XL, and the pipeline evolved into an anti-Obama rallying cry for the GOP.
Although Florida may not have been a direct beneficiary of Keystone – the endpoint was Houston, Texas – any argument over environmental issues will reverberate strongly in the Sunshine State.
With the Everglades, indigenous wildlife, pristine beaches and delicate waterways, it can be argued that Florida is one of the most ecologically sensitive regions of the United States.
Environmental issues will be particularly relevant in the lead-up to the 2015 legislative session, as lawmakers face a variety of environmental causes – including protection of natural water resources and the distribution of billions of dollars under Amendment 1, the land and water conservation measure approved by voters in November.
Before the gavel falls in Tallahassee on March 3 – opening the annual 60-day lawmaking assembly – the political pipeline will be turned on just once more, in the traditional pre-session frenzy of campaign cash.
In the next few days, state legislators will be busy in an all-out fundraising spree — picking up checks from a variety of interests, presumably some from both sides of the environmental debate.
Day’s latest editorial features the Koch Brothers, billionaire conservative/libertarian activists who have vowed to sink millions into the upcoming 2016 presidential election cycle.
But the Kochs are only tips of a massive iceberg, the most visible actors in the political pipeline. And the REAL pipeline – money — is what cuts deepest through America, more than Keystone XL ever would.