A New York Times article from March 1 stated that the very nature of our political spending is changing the way we elect our representatives. This is a result of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which said corporations have the same rights as people and equated money to free speech.
Donations are now going to “clubs of elite donors” and they “are taking a more central role in shaping policy and campaigns, displacing party leaders and the outside-spending organizations they helped create...” The “devolution of the two-party has begun.”
Vested wealthy people are writing the political agenda, backing candidates who become indebted to them and who pass laws benefiting their causes. This leaves you and me with little or no influence.
There is something that we as individuals can do and that is to get money out of politics. I-1329 is a Washington effort to do just that. It is a citizen’s initiative that states people, not corporations, have rights that are protected under the Constitution, and our government should have the authority to regulate and publicly disclose political contributions and expenditures. Volunteers in our county are collecting signatures. Look for them, perhaps volunteer yourself (wamend.org) and become part of the solution to reclaim our democracy.
I am concerned with oil coming by train through my community and the rest of Washington. Four facilities, having attained a permit without a comprehensive environmental assessment, are presently shipping oil by rail. Seven more facilities have applied for permits that would enable transporting even more oil by rail. Cumulatively these projects could add more than 750,000 barrels of oil a day to the route. Many of the tanker cars being used are decades old and have been found to be unsafe. In the past six months, there have been four major oil train derailments in North America, resulting in exploding tanker cars.
We need a time-out to understand the cumulative impacts of transporting all of this crude oil through our communities: impacts on our water sources, our fisheries, the climate and safety in populated areas.
I urge our legislators to support an immediate moratorium on crude oil transport by rail through Washington.