As next month’s deadline nears for the Obama administration to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, interest groups on both sides have launched aggressive campaigns aimed at swaying public opinion.
The American Petroleum Institute, the nation’s largest oil lobby, has launched a television advertising blitz in the Midwest and in the District urging voters to tell the White House they support the plan to transport crude oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Environmentalists are planning a Capitol Hill rally later this month to take aim at Republicans and the institute.
The pipeline, which requires a federal permit from the State Department because it crosses an international border, has been under review for more than three years.
In early November, the administration delayed making a national interest determination on the pipeline on the grounds that it needed to avoid crossing sensitive terrain in Nebraska’s Sandhills region. At the time, officials predicted that the process of rerouting the pipeline and the subsequent environmental review would extend the permitting process into early 2013.
Environmentalists note that in December 2010, according to Boehner’s financial disclosure forms, he invested $10,000 to $50,000 each in seven firms that had a stake in Canada’s oil sands, the region that produces the oil the pipeline would transport. The firms include six oil companies — BP, Canadian Natural Resources, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Devon Energy and Exxon — along with Emerson Electric, which has a contract to provide the digital automation for the first phase of a $9.4 billion Horizon Oil Sands Project in Canada.
Bill McKibben, a climate activist and co-founder of the group 350.org, wrote in an e-mail that Boehner has received more than $1 million from fossil-fuel companies, “and now we find out that he’s got extensive personal investments in companies dependent on tarsands oil.”