In a Cable Released by WikiLeaks, State Department Officials Encourage Canada to Spin News Coverage of Tar Sands Pipeline

The State Department says it’s objectively reviewing the proposed Keystone Pipeline, a $13 billion pipeline expansion that would bring 500,000 barrels of the dirtiest, most energy-intensive oil from Alberta’s tar sands into the U.S. each day.

But a 2009 diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks puts that objectivity into question: The LA Times wrote about the leak today:

The cable, obtained by WikiLeaks, describes the State Department’s then-energy envoy, David Goldwyn, as having “alleviated” Canadian officials’ concerns about getting their crude into the U.S. It also said he had instructed them in improving “oil sands messaging,” including “increasing visibility and accessibility of more positive news stories.”Goldwyn now works on Canadian oil sands issues at Sutherland, a Washington lobbying firm, and recently testified before Congress in favor of building the 36-inch underground pipeline, Keystone XL.

As if Koch Industries, the $100 billion oil giant that has funded climate-change denial groups and spent tens of millions of dollars on media campaigns and lobbying efforts against clean energy, needs any help in spinning coverage. Koch Industries currently ships around 250,000 barrels of tar-sands oil per day to the U.S., and stands to gain handsomely from the pipeline if built.

Environmentalists and industry experts say the cable is among several examples from unguarded moments and public documents that signal the administration’s willingness to push ahead with the controversial pipeline, even as its agencies conduct environmental and economic reviews.

In June, the two environmental reviews conducted by the State Department were questioned by the Environmental Protection Agency, which had “concerns” the assessments did not adequately study the impact of pipeline leaks, groundwater impacts, and greenhouse gas emissions — in other words, all the major factors that would make shipping oil from Alberta’s tar sands even more environmentally disastrous than it already is.


Questions over the reviews come as Exxon cleans up 42,000 gallons of oil from a pipeline leak in Montana that regulators warned had safety problems.

The State Department says it will provide a more comprehensive review of the concerns over Keystone in its final environmental assessment. No word yet on whether it will include any recommendations for the Canadian government on positive media coverage.

— Stephen Lacey

Related Posts:

Below are earlier comments from the Facebook commenting system:


Someone tell Harper that he can make more money, get a better image and sustain his precious country side, when investing 13 billion into renewable energy and export the electricity to the States.

Actually it’s that simple — Just do it!

July 13 at 3:44pm


New: Mordor 2.0 “The great Tar Sand Land brought to you by Koch’s and Harper”

July 13 at 4:24pmJerry Ez

Typical GOP bums-investing in a OLD energy source that is DEPLETING, but GOP in USA de-fund Alternative Energy — -Canada & USA need to keep eyes on Electronic Voting Machines as they have FLIPPING Flaws & CEO asks for software development to make flips undetectable! This has a lot to do with LAME leadership and OLD politician thinking & policies by countries!

July 13 at 4:25pm


Electronic voting is a wet dream for Koch, Harper & Co.

July 13 at 4:34pm

Jerry Ez

More like Platinum than the Black Gold-Glad I’m not the only person concerned about the GOP Electronic Voting Machine dominance Domestically & Internationally…SCAREY! Conspiracy Theory???

July 13 at 7:21pm


Meanwhile, another branch of Anonymous is organizing online and real-life protests against plans to establish a transportation route for the shipment of oil refinery equipment from the US to the Alberta tar sands in Canada.


The group dubbed this new campaign Operation Green Rights and is targeting companies like Exxon Mobil, Conoco Phillips, Canadian Oil Sands Ltd., Imperial Oil, the Royal Bank of Scotland and others involved in the plan, which will allegedly have a bad impact on the environment.

“This week, activists are gathering along U.S. Highway 12 in Montana to protest the transformation of a serene wilderness into an industrial shipping route, bringing megaloads of refinery equipment to the Alberta Tar Sands in Canada. Anonymous now joins the struggle against ‘Big Oil’ in the heartland of the US. We stand in solidarity with any citizen willing to protest corporate abuse,” the group’s manifesto reads.

However, real-life protests will be augmented by the leak of corporate secrets obtained either from insiders or hackers. “We are actively seeking leaks to expose the corruption that we all KNOW is beneath this,” the hacktivists write. 13 at 4:59pm


It’s a patriotic duty to stop the criminal destruction of the environment for corporate greed. This is an attack on democracy!

July 13 at 5:00pm


ALEC EXPOSED: Polluter Front Group’s Dirty Secrets Revealed.

As revealed by The Nation and hosted by the Center for Media and Democracy’s new ALEC Exposed website, today marks a breakthrough in democratic transparency with the release of over 800 internal documents created by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.Who is ALEC?


Greenpeace has tracked the American Legislative Exchange Council American Legislative Exchange Council and its role in the climate denial machine, along with the money it receives from polluters including Koch Industries and ExxonMobil to peddle doubt over established conclusions of climate scientists. Check out some of ALEC’s climate denier deeds at ExxonSecrets.

ALEC links state legislators with some of corporate America’s largest and most dubious players — Exxon, Koch, coal giant Peabody Energy, and Reynolds Tobacco for example — to create model state legislation. State legislators who pay a small fee to become ALEC members are granted access to a large pool of draft bills and resolutions created by representatives of the corporate giants who finance ALEC, some of which also help govern the organization. ALEC creates a cover for state legislators who ultimately benefit from ALEC’s corporate supporters without having to disclose who pays for the corporate-handout policies they push in state houses across the country. 13 at 5:51pm


Wake-Up Call From Yellowstone: Keystone XL Must Be Shelved.

Like Americans everywhere, I’ve been sickened and outraged to see 42,000 gallons of toxic crude oil coursing through the Yellowstone River, one of our last wild waterways, vital to fish, farmers and waterfowl.

Oil is caked along the river’s fertile shores, choking plants and threatening wildlife, reports an NRDC staffer who visited the site last week.

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer has pledged to hold ExxonMobil responsible for polluting the Yellowstone River, vowing to Politico last week “to stay on this like smell on a skunk until it’s cleaned up.”

Schweitzer’s got it right, and he knows it won’t be easy. With a master’s degree in soil science, the governor understands the toll this oily sheen is taking on precious wetlands and the regional food chain.

“We Montanans,” he said, “take our wildlife and our rivers very serious.”

For all of us who care about American rivers and the life they sustain, the disaster befalling one of our most beloved and storied waterways is a timely warning against an even greater threat.

Big Oil wants to build a pipeline to send the dirtiest crude oil on the planet from the Boreal forests of Canada right through the heart of America, crossing the Yellowstone, the Missouri, the Platte and other treasured rivers on its way to Texas refineries. 13 at 5:53pm


This piece is almost too kind — “puts that objectivity into question.” This is outrageous behavior by the administration — it’s the same kind of thing that is outraging the British public today. You’ve got a federal official manipulating the media on behalf of a private concern, and then going to work for that concern? This is a menage a trois of corruption, and it should outrage even people who aren’t outraged by the implications of pouring vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.If you are outraged, go to and sign up to get arrested.

July 13 at 6:54pmRichard Brenne

I’ll sign up to get David Goldwyn arrested.

July 15 at 3:51am

Paul Magnus

we have now moved in to climate change adaptation big time. Consider how much time, money and resources have gone in to tackling extreme events over the last 18mths…. were peddling backwards now!​portals125

Throw in peak oil and we must be at peak now….

July 13 at 6:56pmPeter S. Mizla

What more can we expect from the US Government?

July 13 at 6:57pmJerri Edgington

Prokaryotes, love the name. We have to stop this act on our planet, these people do not care about other peoples lives. They act like the planet belongs to them and no one else. I now have an tiny inkling of how the Native American Indians must have felt when their land was taken from them. These people are raping the entire world.

July 13 at 11:54pmJerri Edgington

Every act they make, makes them money. They make money to take from the land and they take money to sell it to the people it belongs to. Then they make money to make the laws to make the money. Then they are paid again by not paying taxes! Then they publicize that they are doing wonderful things for us and give no attention to the oil spills, carbon emmisions, overpackaging, animal cruelty, destruction of unions, jailing people without cause, destroying our national parks, on and on and on…………

July 14 at 12:00am