Canadian lobbying efforts could impact Keystone XL vote turnout

Intro

After relentless lobbying efforts from Canada’s political leadership, a vote on forcing construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline will take place in the US House of Representatives at noon on Friday, and a vote in the Senate is expected to happen as soon as Tuesday. The risky oil pipeline, supported by Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, would transport Alberta bitumen through the Prairies directly through the middle of the the American heartland. In the last few weeks, both premiers have met with numerous senators hoping to convince them into voting for this project. Since 2009, Saskatchewan’s provincial government has funneled $3 million dollars into lobbying efforts in Washington, DC, promoting the pipeline and other dirty energy projects, while Canada’s federal government has reportedly set aside $22.7 million for a similar “advertising blitz.” The forthcoming vote on the pipeline, which would accelerate Canada’s rapidly growing carbon footprint, follows closely on the heels of a “game-changing” announcement that the the US and China will work together to reduce carbon pollution.

Key Points

  • Claims that Keystone XL will create “long-term, sustainable jobs” are exaggerated and misleading.  Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has claimed that approximately 20,000 jobs could be created for communities living near the Keystone XL pipeline. Yet boosters of the pipeline continue to cite biased jobs numbers from an industry-funded study that independent analysts have lambasted as “dead wrong” and “meaningless.” In reality, the Keystone XL pipeline would create a mere 35 permanent, full-time jobs and 15 part-time jobs, according to a definitive analysis by the US State Department.
  • A pipeline that transports 800,000 barrels a day of tar sands oil isn’t safe; in fact it’s dangerous by definition. The Keystone XL pipeline would carry some of the world’s dirtiest oil through Canada and the US, and is situated above the aquifer which supplies almost one-third of all water used for irrigation in the United States. Given the threat Keystone XL poses to land, water, and nearby communities, it is evident that the pipeline is all risk and no return.
  • Approving a major fossil fuel project undermines North American leadership’s climate credibility. This week, the United States and China made a historic announcement on new steps to fight climate change. By following up on this move with a project like Keystone XL, the US would be working alongside Canadian leaders that have pushed for fossil fuel projects responsible for the country’s poor climate record. Strong climate action from the US, one of the world’s largest emitters, could spur other countries to take action, but sending mixed signals by approving the Keystone XL pipeline will weaken credibility on the world stage less than one month before UN climate talks in Lima, Peru.

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  • RT @BeyondCoal: If you agree that we should move beyond #coal, then you should also agree that Keystone XL is a bad idea. #NoKXL