May 25, 2012

Florida Students Challenge Senator Marco Rubio on Dirty Energy Money

This blog is cross-posted from the Southern Energy Network blog

When FIU climate activist David Cordero and four other student activists called out Florida Senator Marco Rubio for taking nearly $300,000 in campaign contributions from dirty energy corporations in a meeting with Rubio’s staff on Wednesday, I guess you could say we should have expected the response.

A group of five activists from Students for Environmental Action at FIU met with the Senator’s staff on Wednesday as the Senator’s constituents, to express their concerns about Marco Rubio’s climate change denial and his loyalty to the dirty energy industry. Of course, we were prepared for Rubio’s staff to defend his connections to dirty energy, but definitely not to deny them. When we brought this up, Rubio’s staff basically shrugged away our points, claiming that we should do better research and check our sources before we make claims about his campaign contributions.

“You should listen to his speeches and read the information on his website – then you’ll get to know the real Marco Rubio straight from the source, not from these sites that want to discredit him,” said his Staff Assistant.

Of course, that’s laughable. Look at his website? Rubio doesn’t even bother to dedicate an issue page on energy or the environment on his website.

As we pointed out in response to this statement – actions speak louder than words. Again and again, the Senator has taken the side of the dirty energy industry rather than representing his constituents. From denying climate change when more than two-thirds of Americans believe we need to take action on climate change, to voting for the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and expanding offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, it is clear where Marco Rubio’s priorities are.

After a year of action at the campus level through the Student Green Energy Fund campaign, working on the campaign against new nuclear power in Florida, and leading the way on Florida’s electoral engagement work, the incredible student activists who lobbied the Senator this week know how critical it is that our elected leaders take strides to address climate change. We will continue to challenge the Senator, and all of our elected leaders, until we see action on climate change. Are you with us?