Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) — Environmental foes of the Keystone
XL pipeline are using their narrow victory in the U.S. Senate
this week to raise funds for the next showdown on the project.
“Make an emergency gift to the Sierra Club right now,”
Sierra Club head Michael Brune said in a pitch after the Senate
fell one vote short of the 60 needed to pass a bill backing the
pipeline. “We’ve worked so hard to stop the pipeline for a long
time now. But we have to keep fighting.”
The League of Conservation Voters, which lobbies for
environmental causes, sent out emergency alerts to its 40,000
members nationwide, urging them to contact their senator to
offer thanks, or criticism, for their vote.
“We expect to see even more attacks on the environment
when the new Congress comes into session in January,” according
to the LCV e-mail. “Our democracy works when lawmakers know
that we’re paying attention.”
Since TransCanada Corp., a Calgary-based pipeline maker,
applied to build Keystone in September 2008, it has become a
proxy in broader political debates over jobs, U.S. energy
security and climate change. Keystone XL would have the capacity
to carry 830,000 barrels of oil a day, linking Alberta’s oil
sands to refineries along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast.
Environmental groups say the pipeline is a symbol of
fossil-fuel development that must be defeated, and they’ve used
it to galvanize public support and raise cash. Republicans are
using delays approving Keystone to blast Obama as an enemy of
jobs and energy independence.
Billionaire and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer’s
political group, NextGen Climate, sent a “YOU DID IT” e-mail
to supporters that asked recipients donate to help “us to
continue our work.” Steyer’s political action committee backs
candidates who support efforts to fight climate change.
After the Nov. 18 Senate vote, 350.org, a group that
started the anti-pipeline effort, collected online petitions
from supporters that urge Obama to deny the pipeline.
“With Congress’ shenanigans out of the way (for now), he
has a chance to show his commitment to science by rejecting the
pipeline,” according to an e-mail.
The State Department, which reviews cross-border projects,
is reviewing whether Keystone is in the national interest.
Environmentalists say they were encouraged last week when Obama
offered critical comments about the project in statements.
“The president’s language on Keystone was the strongest
we’ve ever seen,” said Karthik Ganapathy, a spokesman for
350.org. “It always helps to have one thing to rally around,
but each time it comes up, it feels like a crisis.”
Even the losers can use the vote to raise money.
Senator Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat who spent days
cajoling colleagues to vote for her measure as a way to help in
her Dec. 6 run-off contest, invited supporters to a fundraiser
at La Loma, near the Capitol, according to an invitation
obtained by Bloomberg Politics.
A ticket to attend the “happy hour” just after the vote
ranged from $500 to $1,000.
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Jon Morgan at