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Corporations vs. the health of the planet

Yesterday, the Supreme Court handed over a big win to Corporate America. By a 5-4 decision the court rolled back 60 years of legal precedent prohibiting corporations from making campaign expenditures to attack or support political candidates.

That’s right, more foreboding ads about sinister politicians. But if you think you won’t be affected by the decision because you have the ability to fast forward through commercials, you need a review of money and politics 101.

Let’s look at the affect of corporate loot on climate change policy.

We are all aware that big corporate dollars wield political influence through high paid lobbyists and Political Action Committees. We know that this influence often results in legislation with massive corporate handouts. For example the House climate bill negotiated by backroom deals with polluting industries and corporate lobbyists gives away 85 percent of the carbon credits for free to utilities, oil refiners and manufacturers. While consumers are left with no protection from price volatility or rate hikes.

We know that in some cases, legislators just step aside and let corporate lobbyists help craft legislation that suits the bottom line of their client to the detriment of public health -like the recent pro-pollution amendment written by Alaskan Senator Murkowski and her lobbyists’ friends.

So, what will the court decision to unleash corporate spending on federal campaigns mean for our climate?

Former U.S. Senator, Bob Kerrey:

“Consider the influence a single corporation like Exxon Mobil could wield in the upcoming energy and climate debate if it is able to not only lobby on Capitol Hill but spend unlimited sums on the election or defeat of candidates. With $85 billion in profits during the 2008 election, Exxon Mobil would have been able to fully fund over 65,000 winning campaigns for U.S. House or outspend every candidate by a factor of 90 to 1. That’s a scary proposition when you consider that the health of our planet is at stake.”

Let’s not yield the remainder of our time to the Senator from Exxon Mobil. Join our campaign to protest this decision. Protect our democracy and our environment from a hostile corporate takeover.

Allison Fisher is the Energy Organizer at Public Citizen