Dear Congressman Upton,
When we read your editorial in Investor’s Business Daily blaming paralysis in Congress on conservation and environmental groups, we were surprised and touched. We felt compelled to write you this thank you letter for bestowing on the National Wildlife Federation and our partners all the credit for causing political gridlock in Congress. We didn’t know we had that kind of power! Silly us, we thought we’d been trying to end the gridlock caused by partisan members of Congress in the House and Senate. But now that we know the real story, it’s nice for you to make us feel so valued.
As a sign of our appreciation, we modestly accept your invitation to sit down and talk with you constructively about a pipeline safety bill. As you know, the oil that breached the Enbridge Pipeline and is still contaminating the Kalamazoo River is the same kind of oil that is being proposed to be transported in the Keystone XL pipeline through the Midwest, so a pipeline safety bill that addresses such hazardous material is essential. For the first time, we now understand that perhaps you were a bit intimidated by such a powerful “special interest” as conservation and environmental groups, which explains why you’d rather meet with the oil lobby than us. And perhaps that’s why we rarely saw you or your staff at the Kalamazoo River public forums we and local river groups hosted and participated in to help clean up the Enbridge oil spill.
You have offered that you’d like to develop a common-sense, balanced policy on pipeline safety. At the National Wildlife Federation, that’s just the sort of approach we like; after all, on behalf of our 49,000 Michigan members we were instrumental in successfully negotiating with the business community on the Great Lakes Water Resources Compact and in bringing $775 million in Great Lakes restoration dollars to the region. So we’d be willing to release Congress from political gridlock for a few weeks (but no more!) for an effective pipeline safety law.
Thank you again for your keen insight on our influence and power. Would you mind if we shared your perspective with other members of Congress? They may still be under the misapprehension that the oil and coal lobbies are the special interests that run Congress.
Andy Buchsbaum, Regional Executive Director
Danielle Korpalski, Midwest Regional Outreach Coordinator
NWF Great Lakes Office