Saturday, March 19, 2005

Slam Mary Landrieu's office

New Orleans' hometown girl, Mary Landrieu, is now playing John Breaux's part of Republican disguised as Democrat, talkin' the talk, but she sure ain't walkin' the walk.

Mary Landrieu joined two other Democrats, Inouye and Akaka (both from Hawaii), in voting to allow oil companies to drill inside the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

ANWR was established in 1960 so that future generations could experience wild lands unspoiled by human activity.

Thomas Friedman rightly observed that the ANWR vote is not an issue about U.S. independence from foreign oil. ANWR crude, like North Slope crude, will probably be destined for Asia, not the lower 48 states. The Bush administration is pushing ANWR drilling to break the backs of his opponents in the environmental movement.

Meanwhile, again typically unable to handle more than one issue at a time, as the mainstream media has been focused on ANWR, the Bureau of Land Management in the next few days may very well open up for oil drilling a sensitive area of the North Slope around Teshekpuk Lake.

When the BLM invited public comment on a 2004 plan to allow drilling around the lake, the majority of more than 220,000 comments from across the nation were in opposition. Also opposed to drilling around Teshekpuk Lake were the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Alaska's North Slope Borough, comprised of Native Americans who subsist by hunting and fishing in the area. They have long opposed any drilling around the lands and waters that they depend upon. See, for example, their testimony at a 1982 public hearing.

Despite such widespread opposition, Interior Secretary Gale Norton is expected to sign off on the BLM's recommendation this week.

In other matters, Mary Landrieu recently voted in favor of the credit card bankruptcy bill, which legislates personal responsibility for the poor and the sick but not for the rich, and which gives credit card companies the effective cover of the law to continue their irresponsible predatory marketing and lending practices.

Mary Landrieu is now (by my unstudied count) zero for two on critical votes during the current session where she broke Democratic ranks to stand with Republicans in defending corporate interests over people and the environment.

The next critical vote for Mary may be the full Senate confirmation hearings of William G. Myers III to the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals. Myers, who has little courtroom experience, spent much of his career criticizing federal environmental regulations out west on behalf of mining and ranching interests. Senator Patrick Leahy (D, Vt) called Myers the most anti-environmental nominee in all of his years in the Senate.

Myers is one of twelve controversial Bush nominees for lifetime appointments to the federal bench that will soon come up for a vote.

Senate Democrats are going to have a tough fight on these appointments, and they'll need to hear from their constituents and concerned citizens--especially Mary Landrieu!!!

Slam Mary Landrieu's office with your views!

(202) 224-5824


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