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Down With Upton

Wake Upton UP!

sign the petitionMessage to Fred Upton, Chairman, U. S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee:
Stop blocking renewable energy initiatives. Stop favoring dirty energy. Your committee needs a chairman who will help lead the nation's transition to CLEAN energy!

Fred Upton's leadership failure

As a responsible citizen of the Earth and as chairman of the committee on energy and commerce, Fred Upton should be a leader in the nation's and the planet's transition from dirty energy to clean.

How has Upton handled his committee and his leadership role?

Fred Upton says he supports an “all of the above” energy policy. His record shows that when he says all of the above he means all except clean renewable energy. no solar

What can we do about Fred Upton's leaership failure?

MoveOn.org is sponsoring a petition asking Fred Upton to either take a leadership role in the nation’s and the planet’s all-important transition from dirty energy to clean, or else retire. Please sign the petition.

Contact Fred Upton.
(See the column on the right for his contact info.) Tell him:
  • His so-called "all of the above" energy policy is outdated and environmentally wrong.
  • His committee must abandon policies that deregulate, subsidize, and favor dirty energy.
  • His "job-creating" and "economy-boosting" incentives must stop going only to dirty energy and start going to renewables instead.
See more ideas at "How you can join the DOWN WITH UPTON campaign" below.

If you’re reluctant to sign the petition, please keep reading.

Fred Upton is our inspiration

turbines Upton sent a message to his email subscribers in early May. It was a copy-and-paste of an article he’d written for The Washington Times. The headline promised an “energy revolution” and a “new architecture.” The article’s first words, first paragraph: “technological advances.”

Yes! Finally! It’s about time, Fred!

Oops! Hold on. Hey, Fred? Where's the part about solar energy? Wind turbines? Upton's email was all about why we need the Keystone XL pipeline and how disappointed he was when the President put it on hold.
[O]ur policies have not kept pace with new technologies and breakthroughs.


A case in point is the Keystone XL pipeline. The review of this landmark jobs and energy project has now exceeded 2,000 days. And to add insult to injury, the Obama administration has just announced they will extend the review process indefinitely. We will never be allowed to take full advantage of North America’s growing energy resources if it takes over five years to simply approve a privately-built pipeline. We are going to need to build dozens of new oil and natural gas pipelines and transmission lines over the next decade to fully realize the potential our newfound energy abundance.
His closing paragraph said:
Private sector innovation and advancements in technology created a new 21st century energy landscape, and we now need a 21st century energy infrastructure.  Our job as policymakers is to pursue visionary policies that will allow this Architecture of Abundance to soon become a reality.
Um, wait... Fred? Excuse me? Visionary? You're pushing for dozens of new pipelines? "Abundance" doesn't mean wind and sunshine? Tar sands oil from Canada is our "new 21st century energy landscape"? My, how "visionary."

My immediate reply to Upton's email:

Dear Congressman Upton:

I just received your email about the "new architecture of abundance.” This email just lost you my vote in November and I hope thousands more. Taking ”full advantage of North America’s growing energy resource" via the Keystone XL pipeline is absolutely NOT a “new architecture of abundance.” It’s precisely the same-old-same-old. The US must lead the rest of the world in moving from black energy production to green, and not starting now, starting forty years ago! The nation’s greatest job growth potential and the health of our future economy OUGHT to come from the business of developing green energy sources.

I hope the indefinite KXL delay lasts forever. I hope, for the sake of my grandchildren, that local, state, and federal legislators, regulators, and agencies all across America learn to stop kowtowing to the oil industry and its lobbyists before it’s too late for human survival. I just hope it’s not too late already.

Bruce M Brown

More inspiration from Upton

broken pipeline A couple of weeks after Upton's inspiring email in early May, another message came. Click here to see the entire message. Here's its most inspiring paragraph:
On May 22, 2013, the House passed H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act with a bipartisan vote removing roadblocks to the pipeline's construction. The legislation now heads to the Senate to await further consideration.
Weeks earlier, he’d been mourning the KXL pipeline’s demise while millions cheered! Now he was finagling a way to revive it. In this new email, he had sense enough to give clean energy at least a passing mention, saying that we need “a combined effort from oil and natural gas development, clean coal technology, nuclear energy, and renewable resources such as wind, hydro, and solar power.”

Again, I responded Immediately

Dear Congressman Upton:

Please count me among those who consider an “all of the above” energy policy to be wrong for the nation and wrong for the planet. You mention that the pipeline will be safe and that its construction will have “almost no harmful impacts.” But to my mind, the impact the pipeline’s construction will have on its immediate environment is a small part of the overall issue. The larger issue is the impact when we burn the fuel it delivers.

I understand that we can’t suddenly stop burning fossil fuels right now, today. At the same time, I believe that every project like KXL—projects that keep fossil fuels easily available, projects that keep dirty-energy prices from rising, projects that keep the oil business among the nation’s most profitable, all such projects—push our absolutely necessary transition from dirty energy to clean that much farther into the future. We’ll eventually run out of future if we don’t stop promoting dirty energy.

I’m further convinced that the billions we spend subsidizing the oil industry is money we should stop burning right now, today. All these dollars should support the business of clean energy, not dirty. You say, “Keystone represents a responsible, safe, and much needed economic boost to our economy that will benefit millions of Americans.” Think about the benefits for all Americans and the boost to our economy if all the time and money we spend pushing projects like KXL and subsidizing dirty energy were spent on the research, development, production, and delivery of clean energy.

I can only hope that H.R. 3, the new Northern Route Approval Act that removes roadblocks to the pipeline's construction dies in the Senate.

Bruce M Brown
In mid June, the Senate Energy Committee, headed by the bill's Senate sponsor, Democrat Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, sent its version of the Northern Route Approval Act to the full Senate. The good news is that Harry Reid isn't likely to bring the bill up for a vote.

Here's what's really odd

After his first full year as Chairman of the house Energy and Commerce Committee, the Los Angeles Times placed Upton at #1 on its list of "Congress' biggest enemies of the Earth" for 2011. The article pointed out that Upton "was once known among his state's conservatives as 'Red Fred' because of a somewhat pro-environment voting record, but a recent electoral challenge from his right changed all that."

Before Upton took over the energy chairmanship in January, 2010, his website carried this statement:
I strongly believe that everything must be on the table as we seek to reduce carbon emissions. Climate change is a serious problem that necessitates serious solutions.
In 2007, Glenn Beck called Upton a socialist for co-sponsoring energy-efficient and environmentally responsible light bulb legislation. In 2008, Upton's "all-of-the-above" policy included a call for an offshore wind farm on Lake Michigan. In 2009, he helped secure $350,000 in funding for a wind turbine program at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

But when the Los Angeles Times blamed a “recent electoral challenge from his right” for Upton's change of heart—which Mother Jones called his “climate changeup”—the Times may have overlooked part of the story.

Stop the oil subsidiesUpton won his House Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship in December, 2009. On January 2, 2010, immediately after Upton took charge of his committee, Chris Wallace interviewed him for Fox News (video and transcript available here).
Wallace: In the article that you co-wrote with the head of Americans for Prosperity, which is a group that is financed in part by oil companies, you say this: "This presumes that carbon is a problem in need of regulation. We are not convinced." But...on your congressional website...you say, "I strongly believe that everything must be on the table as we seek to reduce carbon emissions. Climate change is a serious problem that necessitates serious solutions." So, question: Is carbon a problem or isn't it? And if it is, if you're going to kill the EPA regulation, what is your solution?

Upton: We want to do this in a reasonable way. Before the end of the next decade, our country is going to need 30 to 40 more percent more electricity that we use today. So we need an all-of-the-above strategy. We need clean coal. We need natural gas. We need nuclear—something that has not happened. We need a whole host of things.

Wallace: Do we need to regulate carbon?

Upton: I don't think that we have to regulate carbon to the degree we have a carbon tax or you have a cap-and-trade system. And the House spoke pretty loudly—you know, you take that same cap-and-trade bill that passed the House last year. Today it would lose by 50 votes and it could never come up in the Senate. This is not—this regulation process—is not the way to proceed.
The interview included no mention of renewable energy. The next day, the statement Wallace called him on vanished from Upton's website. "Everything" wasn't on the table anymore. "All of the above" didn't mean all of the above anymore. Upton was now "[unconvinced] that carbon is a problem in need of regulation."

During the 2007-08 election cycle, before Upton won his chairmanship, Koch Industries was tied for fifth among Upton's donors with $35,000 in total support according to Open Secrets. Koch Industries is now Upton's second-favorite helper, providing $60,000 in total support thus far (subject to periodic updates) with the elections still five months away.

Aubrey McLendon Cheapeake Energy, one of the nation's most aggressive and sometimes illegal frackers, was a top ten contributor to Upton's 2012 re-election campaign. Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon (left), who in 2008 was the highest-paid CEO of any Fortune 500 company, recently left Chesapeake and started his own fracking outfit, American Energy Partners, spending $4.25 billion on drilling rights from West Virginia to West Texas. An Upton cousin is McLendon's wife.
Please help demolish Upton’s so-called “all of the above” energy policy and its “new architecture of abundance.” To Upton, “new” means dirty-energy favoritism and subsidies—which got old long ago. To Upton, “abundance” means finding, drilling, pipelining, and burning more dirty energy. Please sign the petition. Tell him “new” means clean and renewable. Tell him “abundance” means wind and sunshine. Germany recently announced a new record, a day when 74% of the energy used nationwide came from renewable sources. The technology is available. The USA could do that too. But not if Fred Upton keeps holding us back.

How you can join the DOWN WITH UPTON campaign

Thanks for asking!
  • Sign the petition.
  • Share links to the petition and to the page you’re reading now via email, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, other social media, online forums, whatever, wherever.
  • Write letters to the editors.
  • Talk it up with friends and family.
  • Contact Fred Upton and tell him he’s wrong.
  • Email me your ideas. I’ve never done anything like this before, and I don’t know how. Please help.
  • Please join a group of Upton’s constituents at his offices in Kalamazoo and St. Joseph, Michigan, at 3:00 PM on Friday, October 17, to present the petition and express our outrage over the way he’s using his chairmanship to favor dirty energy while obstructing clean-energy initiatives. Bring lots of guests!

Use this contact form to send a message to US Representative Fred Upton (R, MI-6).

To go to the form, you must first enter your 9-digit ZIP. If you don't live in Michigan's Sixth Congressional District, you won't be able to use the form.
Upton keeps his email address private.

At this link, you can send Representative Upton a message telling him to become a clean-energy leader or retire.

Down with Upton 
At the end of his first year as Chairman of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, the Los Angeles Times named Upton "Congress' #1 Enemy of the Earth" for 2011.
Upton was LA Times #1 enemy of the Earth for 2011
"As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Upton is the gatekeeper for many of the disastrous anti-environment bills that have been approved or proposed in the House this year. Ironically, he was once known among his state's conservatives as 'Red Fred' because of a somewhat pro-environment voting record, but a recent electoral challenge from his right changed all that. Because of his powerful position and newfound disdain for green regulation, he represents one of the biggest threats to planet Earth on planet Earth."

Representative Fred Upton's Contact Information

Use this contact form to send a message to US Representative Fred Upton (R, MI-6).

To get to the form, you must first enter your 9-digit ZIP. If you live outside Michigan's 6th District, you won't be able to use the form.

Upton keeps his email address private.

At this link, you can send Representative Upton a message telling him to become a clean-energy leader or retire.
Kalamazoo, MI, office:
157 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 180
Kalamazoo, MI  49007
Phone: (269) 385-0039
Fax: (269) 385-2888

St. Joseph, MI, office:
800 Centre, Suite 106
800 Ship Street
St. Joseph, MI  49085
Phone: (269) 982-1986
Fax: (269) 982-0237

Washington, DC, office:
2183 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC  20515
Phone: (202) 225-3761
Fax: (202) 225-4986

Visit Representative Upton's website

Submit a contact form (Form requires your full nine-digit ZIP. It doesn't permit submissions from non-residents of Michigan's Sixth Congressional District.)

Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
Phone (202) 225-2927
Fax (202) 225-1919

Visit House Energy and Commerce Committee website.

Links to the newspaper reports cited on this page

Los Angeles Times:
"Year in Review: Congress' 10 biggest enemies of the Earth" (appeared December 14, 2011, after Upton's first full year as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee).

The Washington Times:
"America’s Energy Revolution Requires A New Architecture Of Abundance" (appeared April 30, 2014.)

Links to my two Daily Kos articles

May 7, 2014
"How House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Upton Can Make the World a Better Place: Retire"

May 22, 2014
"My least favorite Congressman just helped revive the Keyston XL pipeline."

please sign the petition
Please sign the petition! Tell Fred Upton to help lead the transition to clean energy.

Thank you!

(go back to top of page)

The Enbridge Disaster

On the evening of Monday, July 26, 2010, the Enbridge 6B, a pipeline about three feet in diameter embedded in the Kalamazoo River, ruptured near Marshall, Michigan, 15 miles upstream from Battle Creek and about 35 miles from Kalamazoo. The pipeline operators, misinterpreting the alarms and thinking they needed to force a bubble through the line, increased the pressure. For about twelve hours, oil flowed into the Kalamazoo River through the six-foot tear in the pipeline.

examination of pipeline break
National Transportation Safety Board photo. Photos below: MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette.

When the flow finally stopped, the biggest inland oil catastrophe in US history was well on its way into Fred Upton's home district.

river cleanup

Original estimates put the leak at about 800,000 gallons and the cleanup cost at about two million dollars. Consensus now says the spill was well over a million gallons. Four years later, the cleanup isn't finished. Enbridge will end up paying more than a billion dollars to clean up the mess.


In the first few days of the tragedy, dangerously high levels of airborne benzene prompted Calhoun County health officials to order the evacuation of about 50 homes. For a time, the cleanup work closed a 35-mile section of the Kalamazoo River. Residents of the town of Ceresco lost a battle to save their dam, which had served the town for 174 years and had became the centerpiece of the town's identity. The contaminated dam hindered the river's restoration.

dam removal


Says Upton, "We are going to need to build dozens of new oil and natural gas pipelines and transmission lines over the next decade."


During the four years and counting that the Environmental Protection Agency has been overseeing the cleanup of the spill, which affected Fred Upton's home district, Upton has continued his five-year battle to undermine the EPA.


Down with Upton

Thank you!

Please email me your ideas on how best to promote the petition. I’ve never done anything like this before, and I don’t know how. Please help.

Down with Upton
Established June, 2014.
The Down with Upton campaign is not a fundraiser and is not associated with or a subsidiary of any other organization, group, company, or individual except me. I don’t expect that to change, but if it does I will update this notification. I take full and sole responsibility for the contents of this page and I’m not copyrighting any of it. You can use any or all of this content as long as you promise to (1) use it against Fred Upton to the best of your ability and (2) attach this stipulation to it. You’re also free to share it with anyone else who makes these same promises.
— Bruce Brown —
Follow @AcieBrucie