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Senate approves John Kerry for secretary of state, climate change denier votes 'no'

Senator John Kerry (D-MA.), a champion of reducing man’s fossil fuel footprint, was easily confirmed as secretary of state to replace Hillary Clinton by a stunning bipartisan vote of 94-3.

The vote would have been unanimous except for three Republican holdouts, including the stalwart global warming denier and defender of big oil, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), along with Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.

According to a report in The Hill, Kerry is the son of a US diplomat and has long been eyeing the secretary of state job. He was not Obama's first choice for the post but was nominated after Susan Rice withdrew from consideration amid withering Republican criticism for having initially linked the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, to a protest gone awry.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) will replace Kerry as chair of the Foreign Relations Committee.

“I can think of no one better to take on the challenges of this position,” said Menendez. “John has already built strong relationships across the world. … He will need no introduction to the world’s political leaders.”

One of the first issues facing Kerry will be the Keystone XL pipeline. He described climate change as one of the “life threatening issues” that defines American foreign policy.

“I’ll make the appropriate judgments about it,” Kerry was quoted in an Inside Climate report referring to the State Department’s ongoing review of the 1,200-mile tar sands oil pipeline. “There are specific standards that have to be met with respect to that review, and I’m going to review those standards and make sure they’re complete.”

However, President Obama will ultimately make the final decision on Keystone.

Kerry, a vocal supporter of climate action co-authored comprehensive climate legislation in 2010 that failed against a wall of Republican opposition. He vowed in 2011 to watch the Keystone XL proposal very carefully and told reporters at the time that he would do his best to leave no question unanswered, including every possible economic and environmental consideration, before a final decision gets made.

John Kerry is respected by most members of both parties and his confirmation was basically smooth sailing.

Nonetheless, several of Obama’s other nominations—former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) for secretary of defense the president’s choice of John Brennan to take over the CIA—are not expected to be confirmed so easily.

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Jean Williams, environmental and political journalist; PrairieDogPress writer; Artistic Director, Keystone Prairie Dogs.***PrairieDogPress is the media channel for keystone-prairie-dogs.com, which is a fundraising website to support environmental groups for extraordinary efforts to protect Great Plains habitat and prairie dogs in the wild. PDP uses humorous images, social commentary and serious-minded political reports to challenge government on numerous levels, including accountability to the people, the protection of threatened species, the environment and Earth’s natural resources.