Murkowski: What turns a would-be climate champ into a fossil fuel backer?

Senator Murkowski

Remember “Connect the Dots”? Those pages of seemingly random points that, when connected properly, formed a picture? Well, I’ve been reminded of this game while watching the Murkowski “Dirty Air Act” episode unfold.

Considering Sen. Murkowski is from Alaska, where the impacts of climate change are dramatic and costly, one might think she’d be at the forefront of the Senate’s efforts to reduce carbon pollution. She’s even acknowledged the very real impacts of climate change on her constituents, saying “My home state of Alaska literally has villages falling into the ocean.” As the ranking member of the Senate’s Environment and Natural Resources committee, she’s certainly in a key political position to put America on a clean energy course.

Connect these dots and you might expect to find a picture of a true climate champ…but that’s not the whole story.

J.P. LeousAccording to Sen. Murkowski has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from polluting companies, and some of her biggest campaign contributors in recent years include firms with fossil-fueled motives like Exxon Mobil Corp. Add those dots into the mix and a different picture emerges — and it starts to look like a person who is poised to introduce legislation next week attacking the Clean Air Act.

As early as Jan. 20 Sen. Murkowski is looking to spearhead efforts to delay the real action we need for America’s economy and health. Rather than returning from recess ready to help pass comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation that creates jobs and protects our communities and natural resources from global warming, the Senator is expected to lead a full frontal assault against long-overdue and much-needed climate action.

Right about now you must be saying: “This is horrible, JP — but what can I do about it?” I respond with: “Connect the dots.”

You now know about this serious threat to our health and economy (Dot 1). You have access to an alert calling on your senators to reject any attempts to delay unlocking America’s clean energy potential (Dot 2). Add to these points: sharing this alert with your friends and family, writing a letter to your newspaper about this issue, calling your senators to drive home your concern — and all of a sudden we have a picture of democracy that works for people and the planet, rather than just polluters.