By Alex Domine, Guest Writer

A man clad in neatly pressed Wall Street regalia addresses a congregation of gas tycoons and declares “endless war” on those pesky environmentalists. He seeks one thing: to spread petty gossip about liberal celebrities to turn the public against environmental advocates.

This scene, although reminiscent of a teenage drama, came from a secretly recorded speech delivered by Richard Bergman, a political consultant, to oil industry executives. Now, in the wake of his $3 million consultation, Pacific Lutheran University students in support of climate action need to push harder than ever before to fight the good fight—especially after last week’s election results.

A major result of last week’s election is the Republican control of the Senate Committee on Environmentalist and Public Works. The committee chair is assumed to veer from climate advocate Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., to James Inhofe, R-Okla.

Inhofe’s 2012 book asserts that global warming is the “greatest hoax,” and he will no doubt attempt to fasten a muzzle on the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to cut pollution.

When the newly Republican-controlled Congress gears up in 2015, some environmental topics will be on the agenda. Oil companies invest in the Republican Party, and with the recent Republican control over Congress, oil businesses will want to cash out on their end of the bargain.

This means a congressional push to force President Obama’s hand on a harmful pipe system called Keystone XL.
The pipeline is a vessel for dirty oil to flow from Canada to the United States. The State Department keeps the project on a short leash and it will ultimately be its decision if it’s of national interest.

However, a legislature controlled by supporters of Keystone XL is a formidable opponent, even if Obama is on the environmental side.

On a more promising note, a measure to promote efficient energy in buildings could be the bill that Congress uses to show the public that both parties can collaborate without too much fuss.

The measure would enforce stricter rules on the energy efficiency of appliances in homes, offices and other buildings. It didn’t pass at the last session because they were all too absorbed in the foreboding Keystone XL project.
Perhaps Congress will take a page out of PLU’s book in an effort to promote energy- efficient buildings.

It’s evident that the fossil-fuel business is frantic for support, and political factions that think environmentalists are lying tree huggers are assembling for even more mudslinging against the climate truth.

Universities are mavens for innovation and critical thinking, and as such, it’s vital that Lutes and students everywhere are prepared to use the ballot box as a sword of change. The Earth depends on it—literally.


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