Supporters Of Keystone XL Outspend Opponents 35 To 1

At least fifty oil companies, business trade associations, labor unions, and political groups with combined lobbying budgets of more than $178 million lobbied Washington in support of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in 2012. And the dozen groups lobbying against the environmentally risky project had 2012 lobbying budgets of less than $5 million total, a ThinkProgress analysis reveals.

In 2011, many of the same companies and groups spent heavily to push the administration to approve construction of the proposed project. Forced by Congressional Republicans to rush a decision, President Obama rejected the application last January. The Calgary, Alberta-based TransCanada Corporation vowed to reapply and the lobbying frenzy began anew.

TransCanada’s own $850,000 federal lobbying effort for 2012 was augmented by deep-pocketed allies including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($94,570,000 in total 2012 lobbying), the Business Roundtable ($13,989,000), the Exxon Mobil Corporation ($12,970,000).

Five labor unions (Laborers’ International Union of North America, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada) spent $1,559,925 in 2012 on overall lobbying, including advocacy for the project — which some labor groups believe would be a “game changer,” creating new jobs for their members.

More surprisingly, the American Jewish Committee (AJC)– which calls itself the “global advocate for the well-being of the Jewish people and for the advancement of democratic values for all” — spent part of its $100,000 lobbying budget in 2012 advocating for the pipeline. Calling energy security “a crucial element of our national security,” the group endorsed the pipeline as “part of short- and medium-term measures aimed at meeting U.S. oil demand.” AJC at least encouraged the U.S. and Canada to “take every measure to reduce the risk” of “environmental hazard.”

Though outspent by more than a 35-to-1 ratio, groups in opposition included environmental groups, the League of Women Voters, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and the Quaker-affiliated Friends Committee on National Legislation.

The U.S. Department of State continues to review the revised application.

Here is the breakdown of who lobbied for and against Keystone in 2012:

Lobbied For Keystone XL (over $178 million) Lobbied Against Keystone XL (less than $5 million)
American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association ($35,000) Advocacy Fund ($250,000)
American Council of Engineering Companies ($2,665,691) American Rivers ($149,487)
American Exploration & Production Council ($40,000) EarthJustice Legal Defense Fund ($637,199)
American Foundry Society ($45,000) Environment America Inc. ($1,929,528)
American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers ($3,714,241) Friends Committee on National Legislation ($682,379)
American Highway Users Alliance ($120,000) Friends of the Earth ($18,020)
American Iron and Steel Institute ($482,539) League of Conservation Voters ($120,000)
American Jewish Committee ($100,000) League of Women Voters of the U.S. ($168,645)
American Petroleum Institute ($5,170,000) National Wildlife Federation ($460,000)
American Road & Transportation Builders Association ($165,000) National Resources Defense Council ($143,231)
Association of Equipment Manufacturers ($1,366,650) Oglala Sioux Tribe ($30,000)
Associated Equipment Distributors ($320,000) Sierra Club ($200,000)
Building and Construction Trades Dept. AFL-CIO ($250,000)
Business Roundtable ($13,989,000)
Center for Individual Freedom ($10,000)
Chamber of Commerce of the USA ($94,570,000)
Chevron USA Inc. ($9,550,000)
ConocoPhillips ($1,030,000)
Consumer Energy Alliance ($90,000)
Deere & Company ($1,395,000)
Devon Energy Production Company, L.P. ($1,100,000)
Emerson ($893,100)
Exxon Mobil Corp ($12,970,000)
Heritage Action for America ($160,000)
In Situ Oil Sands Alliance ($410,000)
Independent Petroleum Association of America ($1,224,553)
International Union of Operating Engineers ($480,000)
Laborers’ International Union of North America ($629,925)
Marathon Oil Corporation ($2,380,000)
Marathon Petroleum Corporation ($2,070,000)
National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors ($167,961)
National Ready Mixed Concrete Association ($88,500)
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) ($2,062,000)
National Taxpayers Union ($37,774)
National Association of Manufacturers ($9,170,000)
New England Fuel Institute ($120,000)
North American Die Casting Association ($25,000)
North American Equipment Dealers Association ($108,915)
Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association ($40,000)
Quanta Services ($10,000)
Shell Oil Company ($7,020,000)
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) ($275,000)
State of Indiana ($52,000)
State of Indiana, Office of the Governor ($14,000)
Steel Manufacturers Association ($70,000)
Tesoro Companies ($620,978)
Texas Association of Business ($35,000)
TransCanada Pipelines, Ltd ($850,000)
United Association of Journeymen & Apprentices of the Plumbing & Pipefitting Industry ($80,000)
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America ($120,000)

26 Responses to Supporters Of Keystone XL Outspend Opponents 35 To 1

  1. John Cartmill says:

    I think the headline is backwards.
    Should be Supporters outspend opponents.

  2. Sasparilla says:

    As stated before (in another article), those lobbying on behalf of the XL, include former high level campaign workers for both the Obama administration and John Kerry’s senate campaign – one big happy family.

  3. clays says:

    So, here we have deep bi-partisan support and agreement for something, but it still doesn’t get done?

  4. Daniel Coffey says:

    The relationship between organized labor and large-scale environmental organizations seems frayed and skewed. But is it?

    Opposition to this pipeline, generating traditional focus as it does, is not going to get substitutes built. Our society needs real substitutes; a thirsty person in the desert does not debate the source of water unless more than one reservoir is available.

  5. Josh Israel says:

    You’re absolutely right–fixed! Sorry ’bout that.

  6. Brianna Amore says:

    Keystone XL is designed to do one thing and one thing only: ship oil from the horrendously destructive planet-killing Tar Sands in northern Alberta down to shipping ports in Texas.

    Then that oil is sold on the WORLD market. America then must buy that oil at world market prices.

    So how does that benefit American oil supplies exactly?

  7. Bernd says:

    … and I wonder what is going on by the Aussies?

    The coal mine lobby?

  8. Stan says:

    Real energy independence will come from eliminating use of fossil fuels and the first step is to make the commitment, as our friends in Germany and other countries have done. The rush to Keystone is only in favor of profits for major corporations with no care for the fragile environments and water sources it will affect. Tar sands oil is known to be the dirtiest forms, from its extraction to its refining, from deforestation to carbon gas production it is a backward looking solution to a long term problem.

  9. Bill Wilson says:

    Massive courrption of industry against honest concerned grass roots people. We the people should win in America.

  10. John Reagan says:

    Just as excess spending didn’t result in a Republican Presidential win, it would be nice to see the Keystone Pipeline killed off just to show US Businesses that you can’t buy off our country.

  11. thanes says:

    I’m against the XL Pipeline because of global warming, but it looks like you should also be against it if you don’t like prostitution.

  12. Boogieman says:

    While SOME of those corporations may profit from the XL pipeline, they seem ignorant, or oblivious to the down side to that dirty oil flowing from a FOREIGN country to EXPORT facilities, while WE get to keep the toxic waste.

  13. sandyh says:

    What else did we expect Big Oil to do with all those billions in subsidies and tax breaks?

  14. Merrelyn Emery says:

    On the question of outspending I refer you to Brian Smith’s comment (no. 3) under ‘Big oil mocks…’ yesterday, ME

  15. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    A family like a Mafia family, only much worse. The common obsession, that ‘Golden Thread’ that runs through capitalist societies from antiquity to today (but not much further) is greed, the love of money that is the root of all evil. And destroying humanity to feed your cupidity is about as evil as it gets.

  16. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Organised labour in neo-liberal capitalist states represents the Bosses, not the workers. Their role is to keep labour quiescent while the Bosses off-shore, outsource, drive down wages and conditions, push for ‘Right To Work’ legislation etc. Of course a pantomime battle is waged for PR effect with the Bosses, but the complicity is deep. In Australia the Rightwing trade unions, deeply in the pocket of the Bosses, granted media exposure by the Murdoch affliction and a force pushing the moribund ALP Government further Right, have become spearheads of the increasingly venomous, bipartisan, MSM-backed and Big Business approved war on environmentalism. So virulent and persistent has been the campaign against environmentalism, with Greens portrayed as ‘job-destroyers’, ‘extremists’, ‘terrorists’ etc, that, even as ecological destruction begins to afflict the country, environmental law is being eviscerated everywhere, plans to destroy the Great Barrier Reef proceed without hindrance and creatures like Baron Monckhausen are feted in the MSM. This is one country that, out of greed, stupidity, ignorance and that moral cowardice which causes you to be unable to face reality, has chosen self-destruction.

  17. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    To finish your sentence, Bernd, ‘The coal-mine lobby controls Australian politics, and the Australian public are so ignorant, smugly self-satisfied and greedy that they do not know or care if the climate is destabilising, just so long as they get to keep their plasma TVs, SUVs, McMansions and air-conditioning’.

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    If Romney outspent Obama 35 to one…well, things would have turned out differently, I would say.

  19. Sam says:

    The proponents of the pipeline are happy to keep this an environmental debate, because it keeps them off the hook for the real reason for the pipeline.

    The oil cannot be destined for the refineries in the Houston area, the termination of the pipeline, because those refineries are at capacity. They would have to build more refineries in Baytown, Pasadena, etc. If there was an actual cost-benefit analysis done, it would be cheaper to pipe the oil to the oil refineries in the Midwestern states. And send out the refined products out from there.

    So if the oil is not to be refined in Houston, then what else is Houston known for? The largest cargo and shipping terminal, especially for South and Central America. And that’s the real reason for the pipeline- export. And remember, exportation of unrefined oil is not subject to the same taxes and tariffs as refined products. And that’s the discussion the proponents don’t want to have. So they are happy to continue the environmental debate.

  20. Bernd says:

    Looks like you are 100% spot on!

    However, every year we will properly hear from more and harder floods, heat waves, droughts and wild fires.
    In that way the Australian public could start thinking.

  21. Bernd says:

    Looking up an English written comment,
    Merkel and Altmmair are thinking!
    By the way, if this 2 are “thinking” anything is possible.
    Sure, they talk about safety to the population, but the issue is not from the table:

    “She vowed a “dialogue” between companies, politicians and citizens before any major decisions were taken on the use of the technique in Germany.”

  22. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Bernd, I don’t know how often you tune into CP so if it is infrequently, you may not realize that Mulga takes great delight in portraying Aussies as cartoon characters. Yes our govt currently has a very conflicted policy position about carbon, as do many countries, but plase do not mistake the Aussie people or our attitudes, values and actions for our current national policies, ME

  23. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Merrelyn, if I might be so bold, ‘the Aussie people’ does not exist. It is not a homogenous mass with shared opinions, beliefs and desires. I meet many Australians, day in day out, and many are admirable. I, if you’ll forgive my presumption, find your contributions here admirable, because you remain optimistic, determined and confident that the good in people will triumph in this crisis. You correctly identify this as a systemic crisis where crude reductionism will not advance our cause.
    Unfortunately I imagine that your worldview is distorted by your character and that of your friends, colleagues and acquaintances, who I assume are people like you. You appear to believe that ‘the Aussie people’ still share your own opinions and strengths. I, on the other hand, owing to my experiences of reading the MSM every day, listening to radio, chatting with people at work, in pubs etc, am not able to share your optimism. Certainly not in regard to Australians as a whole. This country is one of the last redoubts of the crudest and most virulent denialism. Both parties have come out as viciously anti-environmental, both dedicated to massive fossil fuel extraction. The MSM is almost uniformly toxic, dominated by the irascible, irrational and ignorant Right. I cannot think of a single figure, save perhaps one or two Greens, in politics who I would call an admirable person, and scores who I firmly believe to be morally evil. And, in my opinion, based on years of experience, culminating in the moral debacle of the four times elected Howard monstrosity, Australians, in the majority, have become greedy, apathetic, ignorant buffoons, easily roused to prejudice and hatred. Not all by any means, but clearly a majority. Above all else current Australians are afflicted by the moral disease of greed, the ‘aspirational’ sickness that Howard so carefully tended.

  24. Bernd says:

    ME, my mistake by do not express myself clearly!
    I feel very sorry for the population, because they must absorb the damages of floods and wild fires!
    On the other hand, only to built again houses and infrastructure after a disaster strikes and to shout out: “We can do it alone and again”, this is also not enough.
    The broad picture of understanding the most people are missing, that they must learn, as so many people in so many other countries.
    Even in “good” Germany there are the lobbyists having a high influence, thats why I posted the link to fracking below, that Merkel is “thinking”.
    Overall it is not only in Australia so, the same you can see everywhere, people are learning because they have to absorb the damages.
    In Germany in the Ruhr-pot, people are now learning, that the coal mines are starting to collapse in this high populated area after decades of mining.
    Houses crack, collapse and disappear in sink holes, but the mining industry is gone, there is no more coal to excavate any more. The people are still there.
    Hundreds of similar examples exist worldwide, people are learning.
    I dont attack people or a nation, I mean it in general.

  25. Daniel Keough says:

    I know, right! We need to stop this catastrophe from happening in the United States. TransCANADA cannot come in and use our land as a pathway for their dirty tar sands.

    Green energy is the short and long term solution. It is working for Germany, Spain, and other countries that have taken leadership on the issue. Green Jobs Now!

  26. Nancy Crouse says:

    This pipeline idea was the brainchild of the US based big oil companies and the former Republican administration under G.W. Bush. His oil buddies needed oil from Canada’s tar sands and the easiest way to refineries in Texas and for export was to build a pipeline, which is already an environmental disaster, to the Gulf. Many leaks have ‘sprung’ up and the evidence is present that this pipleline is not fool proof. Anyone who says it is safe is lying. We need to stop the current U.S. administration and Canadian P.M. Harper to back off, but that will not happen unless something catastrophic occurs.
    People must rise up and stand against this beheamouth, the largest environmental disaster waiting to happen.
    Take note of the pipeline supporters; oil companies and spinoff companies, large and small steel unions and companies. This pipeline might solve the employment issue for the short term but the long term prognosis is a disaster so larger that our environment will be completely wiped out and massive unemployment will ensue with people fighting against one another for survival; a civil war for lack of a better analogy.
    Progressives on both sides of the border must educate the public to stand against this collusion which will destroy us. Then what! Forget nuclear war, big oil will do it to us in the end. Please think rationally.