We don’t typically head to legislators’ offices with sports gear in hand, but we rounded the bases to Senator Mark Kirk’s offices in Springfield and Chicago last week with a baseball plate in hand.
With baseball season and Congress in full swing, the Sierra Club has released “Scouting the 114th Congress: Polluters Are Out Of Their League,” a new baseball-themed report examining how this Congress has performed so far this season. The new report evaluates select Senators on twelve votes, co-sponsorship and other actions taken so far in the 114th Congress, including key votes on climate action, clean energy, energy efficiency and clean air. The selected Senators include those leading the team on these issues, those leading the opposition, and those Senators that are on the radar, having yet to sign-on fully with one team or another.
In the new Scouting Report, Senators were divided into teams based on their records:
- The Fossil Fools, sponsored by big polluters and going to bat for dirty fuels, dirty air, and dirty water every chance they get;
- The Clean Air Aces, who are lining up with the American public to score for clean energy, clean air, and climate action that families and communities deserve;
- And finally, those players that are on the radar, who aren’t in either team’s dugout just yet.
We visited Senator Kirk’s office because he’s a senator that is “on the radar,” and we’re hoping to draft him to be a Clean Air Ace like Senator Dick Durbin. We brought along the scouting report, baseball cards, and a home plate full of signatures looking for Senator Kirk to step up to the plate for clean energy.
Senator Kirk voted right on important amendments this year acknowledging that humans are significantly contributing to climate change and that our national security is threatened by the climate crisis. However, Senator Kirk stopped short of supporting climate action and even supported an attack on the Clean Power Plan.
His support for clean energy is more important than ever with news that Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) was recently joined by a handful of others in introducing legislation that would gut the Clean Power Plan — the Obama Administration’s plan to limit carbon pollution from power plants for the first time ever. Capito’s bill specifically amends the Clean Air Act to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from ever taking steps to curb carbon pollution from existing power plants. If Senator Kirk supports Sen. Capito’s toxic bill, it could be disastrous for climate solutions.
Illinois is ready to tackle the climate crisis and grow clean energy jobs in our state. We have a tremendous opportunity to achieve both those goals with the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill in the state legislature this year. It is more important than ever – for Illinois’ economy and our future – that Senator Kirk stands firmly with the Clean Air Aces and supports clean energy.