As Americans Say Yes to Keystone XL Opponents Recycle Old Stunts

Support across the country for the Keystone XL pipeline is overwhelming. In fact, as a Pew Poll revealed last month, it’s “almost universal.” But that’s no wonder considering that the benefits of Keystone XL are obvious.  As our pamphlet “Why Americans Say Yes to Keystone XL” explains, Keystone XL will create tens of thousands of jobs for Americans, spur more economic growth and strengthen our energy security.

Nowhere is support for Keystone XL more apparent than out on the campaign trail where Democrats and Republicans across the country are pushing for the pipeline as they work to win votes.  From Kentucky to Montana, from North Carolina to Louisiana, from Arkansas to Alaska candidates from both sides are saying Keystone XL is something they can agree on.

Yet there remains only one place where opponents are working overtime to keep the press engaged in a battle over Keystone XL: Washington DC. But activists’ efforts here in Washington seem to be, well, a bit stale.

Case in point would be the letter Keystone XL opponents sent to Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday arguing that the Obama administration should consider the cumulative impact of all oil sands pipelines, not just Keystone XL, to determine greenhouse gas impacts.  Of course, this is nothing new.  They did exactly the same thing in January of this year: they sent a letter to Secretary Kerry asking that State consider the “cumulative” impacts of other pipelines, as well as Keystone XL.  At the time, OSFC couldn’t help but notice a major flip-flop in their message: after telling us for years that Keystone XL was the absolute “linchpin” for the expansion of oil sands, they then changed their tune and said all pipelines have to be considered together.  For our post on that, click here.

Of course, recycling old claims is nothing new for Keystone XL opponents.  Just this weekend, a so-called “new” study claiming to find higher greenhouse gas emissions, which was billed as “new research that could change the debate, captured headlines.   But as OSFC noted, it was hardly new.  In fact a draft of that exact report was released in December of 2013 and was actually cited in the State Department’s Final Environmental Impact Statement.  This is important because it means the State Department took that draft report into account in its research on the pipeline and still concluded that Keystone XL would have a negligible impact on the environment.  Of note, since OSFC posted its issue alert yesterday, criticism for that so-called “new” report has only intensified.

Here at OSFC we have documented opponents’ recycling tactics many times. Remember when Tom Steyer recycled an anti-Keystone ad that earned him “four Pinocchios” from the Washington Post Fact Checker?  Or when NRDC just re-released essentially the same video they released a year before featuring Robert Redford? They did exactly the same thing with a video starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus!

We understand that it’s August in Washington DC and opponents have little place else to generate attention. Yet while their machine is clearly focused on the nation’s capital, an article yesterday in the Wall Street Journal shows their effort is losing ground with the Democratic Party.  From the article:

“The energy boom is shaping a new kind of Democrat in national politics, lawmakers who are giving greater support to the oil and gas industry even at the risk of alienating environmental groups, a core of the party’s base. The trend comes as oil-and-gas production moves beyond America’s traditionally energy-rich states, a development that also is increasing U.S. geopolitical influence abroad.

No doubt, opponents have more than enough money to continue waging a PR campaign in Washington.  But as this election cycle shows, opponents have lost the argument among the American people. And no amount of recycled letter writing is going to change that.

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