December 21, 2005: Headlines: Figures: COS - India: NGO's: Sierra Club: Environment: Yahoo: Carl Pope writes: A Great Victory for the Arctic

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By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Monday, January 02, 2006 - 5:04 pm: Edit Post

Carl Pope writes: A Great Victory for the Arctic

Carl Pope writes: A Great Victory for the Arctic

"This victory was an extraordinary culmination of incredible work by hundreds of thousands of Americans, and thousands of organizations -- environmental, religious, labor, business, civic, civil rights. " Sierra Club President Carl Pope served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in India in the 1960's.

Carl Pope writes: A Great Victory for the Arctic

Carl Pope: A Great Victory for the Arctic

Carl Pope Wed Dec 21, 4:22 PM ET

Bullying and intimidation might work sometimes, but not always. At midday today, the U.S. Senate stood up to the arch bully, Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, and rejected his demand that it allow the oil industry to drill the Arctic as the price of continuing to provide funding and support for our troops. The vote came on a cloture motion -- 43 Senators opposed allowing the mutant defense bill with the Arctic sacrificed as part of it to come to a vote -- three more than the 40 required. (The official tally was 44, since Senator Bill Frist finally voted "no" as a parliamentary device to give him the chance, if he can change the votes of three Senators, to revisit the issue -- but that's an extraordinarily long shot.)

This vote came after Vice-President Cheney had to fly back from the Middle East to break a tie on the budget-reconciliation bill which, even with the Arctic moved over to the defense bill, was still plenty awful -- and the reactionary leadership couldn't get it through without Cheney, a sign that they are rapidly losing control of the Senate floor.

This victory was an extraordinary culmination of incredible work by hundreds of thousands of Americans, and thousands of organizations -- environmental, religious, labor, business, civic, civil rights. It was a tribute to the leadership of Senators like Harry Reid, Maria Cantwell, Dick Durbin, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Lincoln Chafee and Mike DeWine. It was a testament to the love and affection that Americans carry for their land -- in the middle of a war and immediately after a huge increase in the price of oil -- that they would make the defense of a wonderful place that very few of them have, or ever will, see, such an incredibly important symbol of our commitment to America the Beautiful

And today's vote was an incontrovertible repudiation of Senator Ted Stevens and his tactics. It's heartening to know that even in Washington, which has become a raw, venal place, it's still possible to go too far, and Senator Stevens went too far. Part of the chemistry of today's vote was our national revulsion at the tactic of holding the defense bill hostage to the greed of the Alaska delegation and the state government. The Boston Globe called it a "legislative spitball." Joel Connolly in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer headlined his column, "Ugliness oozes out of pro-drilling ranks." The Los Angeles Times called it "a spectacularly cynical ploy." And there was a particularly wonderful David Horsey cartoon portraying Stevens as a hostage-taker.

For the moment, though, let's try to forget the ugliness that made this victory necessary, and instead celebrate the human compassion and love that made it possible.

When this story was posted in January 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Yahoo

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