Debunking Steyer’s Latest Stunt: Opponents Run Blatantly Fictitious Ad During Obama’s ‘Tonight Show’ Appearance

The facts behind Keystone XL – that it will support tens of thousands of jobs, spur economic growth and put us on the path to energy security – are so obvious that all opponents are left with is perpetrating fictitious claims.

The fruits of their fabrication will be on full display tonight when billionaire Tom Steyer, through his anti-Keystone XL group NextGen, releases his latest video timed exactly for President Obama’s appearance on the Tonight Show.

Let’s just say the absurdity has reached new heights: The video, which features an actor playing TransCanada CEO Russ Girling (not in a favorable light – surprise, surprise) asks Americans to suspend all reality and common sense, and live in Tom Steyer’s fictional world.  And, all it takes, to borrow a phrase from the video, “is a little old fashioned lying.”

Fictitious Claim #1: Keystone XL won’t benefit the economy

FACT:  How could a project of this scale that would support tens of thousands jobs and put on us the path to energy security not benefit our economy?

The State Department, which has studied Keystone XL for almost five years, has found that Keystone XL will support 42,100 jobs: “Including direct, indirect, and induced effects, the proposed Project would potentially support approximately 42,100 average annual jobs across the United States over a 1to 2-year construction period.”

Not even included in this count are the four thousand jobs already created by the “southern leg” of Keystone XL – jobs with great salaries and benefits.  As union business manager Danny Hendrix put it, “These jobs are really good-paying jobs. They provide not only a good living wage, they provide health care and they also provide pension.” It’s no wonder that unions have rallied over the past several months to tell President Obama to approve Keystone XL.

That’s not all: State also found that these jobs will put $2 billion in workers’ pockets and $3.3 billion would be spent on construction materials. 

Fictitious Claim #2: “Keystone is only going to drive the price of oil up.”

FACT:  How could increasing our imports from our politically stable neighbor and ally, rather than from unstable regions of the world, give us higher prices? Both the State Department and the Department of Energy have already discredited Steyer on that point.  As the State Department Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) clearly states:

“Midwest product prices are derived from Gulf Coast prices, both of which are in turn driven by international (rather than U.S. inland) crude oil prices. Enabling (additional volumes of) WCSB crudes to flow to the Gulf Coast would not change this dynamic.”

It’s about supply and demand – and North America has the supply.  As the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) recently found, North American oil sands supply will grow by 3.9 million barrels per day from 2012 to 2018, which means that North America will provide 40 percent of new energy supplies by 2018 through the development of the oil sands, while contributions from OPEC will fall to 30 percent. According to IEA, North America will be “all but self-sufficient” in its energy needs by 2035.  In fact, in the next dozen years, increased access to America’s shale oil and gas supplies combined with crude from Canadian oil sands could make North America 100% energy secure with regard to transportation fuels. 

Fictitious Claim #3: “We said Keystone was going to increase American oil independence. You want to see who it’s really going to increase oil independence for?” (Camera pans to boats to China)

FACT: First of all, for the United States to export crude a license from the Department of Commerce is required – and is quite uncommon.  Second, the State Department has already found Steyer’s claim to be false:

“In addition to the concerns expressed about exports of refined products, there is a question of whether the oil sands/Western Canadian Select (WCS) crude oil transported into Gulf Coast markets via the proposed Project may be simply “passed through” the market and loaded onto vessels for ultimate sale in markets such as Asia or Europe. Under the current market outlooks, such an option is unlikely to be economically justified primarily due to transportation costs. Once the WCSB crude oil arrives at the Gulf Coast, the refiners there have a significant competitive advantage in processing it compared to foreign refiners because the foreign refiners would have to incur additional transportation charges to have the crude oil delivered from the Gulf Coast to their location.”

This pipeline will feed many US refineries that will upgrade the crude oil into more valuable products that consumers use every day. Of course if we don’t approve Keystone XL then Canada’s oil sands could go to China instead of America, as we discussed here.

Fact vs. Fiction

Anyone living in the world of reality understands the enormous benefits of Keystone XL – and that’s why the latest poll shows that 70 percent of the American people want the pipeline to be built; that’s why unions have rallied at the White House for Keystone XL jobs; that’s why editorial boards across the country have called on President Obama to build Keystone XL; that’s why Democrats and Republicans in Congress have come together to pass bipartisan Keystone XL legislation.  Those living in Steyer’s fictional world are the only ones not getting it.

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