In the last month, the American public has been clearly shown the danger posed by oil pipelines. First, a pipeline under the Yellowstone River in Montana burst, sending a huge amount of oil coursing along for hundreds of miles. Then, oil pipelines controlled by BP caused oil spills in Alaska three times in just one week.
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives responded to these oil pipeline accidents – by passing legislation authorizing the construction of yet another oil pipeline. If passed by the Senate, H.R. 1938, the North American-Made Energy Security Act, would enable a pipeline to snake down from Canada into the United States, threatening a huge range of America’s sensitive ecosystems along the way. The pipeline would run through the Ogllala Aquifer, endangering a huge supply of clean water. What’s more, the oil would come from Alberta’s tar sands, which yield commercially usable oil only through an extremely expensive and inefficient process that creates a massive amount of pollution.
The legislation passed, 279 to 147. Only three Republicans voted against creating the new pipeline risk: Charles Bass, Jeff Fortenberry, and Nan Hayworth. Most Democrats voted against the pipeline, but 47 Democrats crossed party lines to help the Republicans with the reckless scheme. The Democrats who voted for the Oglalla Aquifer pipeline were:
Gary Ackerman, Jason Altmire, Joe Baca, John Barrow, Sanford Bishop, Dan Boren, Leonard Boswell, Robert Brady, Dennis Cardoza, Ben Chandler, Jim Cooper, Jim Costa, Jerry Costello, Mark Critz, Henry Cuellar, John Dingell, Joe Donnelly, Michael Doyle, Chaka Fattah, Charles Gonzalez, Al Green, Gene Green, Brian Higgins, Rubén Hinojosa, Kathleen Hochul, Tim Holden, Sheila Jackson Lee, Larry Kissell, Daniel Lipinski, Stephen Lynch, Jim Matheson, Carolyn McCarthy, Mike McIntyre, William Owens, William Pascrell, Ed Perlmutter, Collin Peterson, Nick Rahall, Silvestre Reyes, Laura Richardson, Cedric Richmond, Mike Ross, C.A. Ruppersberger, Heath Shuler, Albio Sires, Bennie Thompson, and Peter Visclosky.
Michele Bachmann, John Carter, Gabrielle Giffords, Maurice Hinchey and Joe Walsh did not show up to vote on the bill.