Supporters Of Keystone XL Outspend Opponents 35 To 1

Written by Josh Israel

At least fifty oil companies, business trade associations, labor unions, and political groups with combined lobbying budgets of more than $178 million lobbied Washington in support of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in 2012. And the dozen groups lobbying against the environmentally risky project had 2012 lobbying budgets of less than $5 million total, a ThinkProgress analysis reveals.

In 2011, many of the same companies and groups spent heavily to push the administration to approve construction of the proposed project. Forced by Congressional Republicans to rush a decision, President Obama rejected the application last January. The Calgary, Alberta-based TransCanada Corporation vowed to reapply and the lobbying frenzy began anew.

TransCanada’s own $850,000 federal lobbying effort for 2012 was augmented by deep-pocketed allies including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($94,570,000 in total 2012 lobbying), the Business Roundtable ($13,989,000), the Exxon Mobil Corporation ($12,970,000).

Five labor unions (Laborers’ International Union of North America, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada) spent $1,559,925 in 2012 on overall lobbying, including advocacy for the project — which some labor groups believe would be a “game changer,” creating new jobs for their members.

More surprisingly, the American Jewish Committee (AJC)– which calls itself the “global advocate for the well-being of the Jewish people and for the advancement of democratic values for all” — spent part of its $100,000 lobbying budget in 2012 advocating for the pipeline. Calling energy security “a crucial element of our national security,” the group endorsed the pipeline as “part of short- and medium-term measures aimed at meeting U.S. oil demand.” AJC at least encouraged the U.S. and Canada to “take every measure to reduce the risk” of ”environmental hazard.”

Though outspent by more than a 35-to-1 ratio, groups in opposition included environmental groups, the League of Women Voters, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and the Quaker-affiliated Friends Committee on National Legislation.

The U.S. Department of State continues to review the revised application.

Here is the breakdown of who lobbied for and against Keystone in 2012:

Lobbied For Keystone XL (over $178 million) Lobbied Against Keystone XL (less than $5 million)
American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association ($35,000) Advocacy Fund ($250,000)
American Council of Engineering Companies ($2,665,691) American Rivers ($149,487)
American Exploration & Production Council ($40,000) EarthJustice Legal Defense Fund ($637,199)
American Foundry Society ($45,000) Environment America Inc. ($1,929,528)
American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers ($3,714,241) Friends Committee on National Legislation ($682,379)
American Highway Users Alliance ($120,000) Friends of the Earth ($18,020)
American Iron and Steel Institute ($482,539) League of Conservation Voters ($120,000)
American Jewish Committee ($100,000) League of Women Voters of the U.S. ($168,645)
American Petroleum Institute ($5,170,000) National Wildlife Federation ($460,000)
American Road & Transportation Builders Association ($165,000) National Resources Defense Council ($143,231)
Association of Equipment Manufacturers ($1,366,650) Oglala Sioux Tribe ($30,000)
Associated Equipment Distributors ($320,000) Sierra Club ($200,000)
Building and Construction Trades Dept. AFL-CIO ($250,000)
Business Roundtable ($13,989,000)
Center for Individual Freedom ($10,000)
Chamber of Commerce of the USA ($94,570,000)
Chevron USA Inc. ($9,550,000)
ConocoPhillips ($1,030,000)
Consumer Energy Alliance ($90,000)
Deere & Company ($1,395,000)
Devon Energy Production Company, L.P. ($1,100,000)
Emerson ($893,100)
Exxon Mobil Corp ($12,970,000)
Heritage Action for America ($160,000)
In Situ Oil Sands Alliance ($410,000)
Independent Petroleum Association of America ($1,224,553)
International Union of Operating Engineers ($480,000)
Laborers’ International Union of North America ($629,925)
Marathon Oil Corporation ($2,380,000)
Marathon Petroleum Corporation ($2,070,000)
National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors ($167,961)
National Ready Mixed Concrete Association ($88,500)
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) ($2,062,000)
National Taxpayers Union ($37,774)
National Association of Manufacturers ($9,170,000)
New England Fuel Institute ($120,000)
North American Die Casting Association ($25,000)
North American Equipment Dealers Association ($108,915)
Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association ($40,000)
Quanta Services ($10,000)
Shell Oil Company ($7,020,000)
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) ($275,000)
State of Indiana ($52,000)
State of Indiana, Office of the Governor ($14,000)
Steel Manufacturers Association ($70,000)
Tesoro Companies ($620,978)
Texas Association of Business ($35,000)
TransCanada Pipelines, Ltd ($850,000)
United Association of Journeymen & Apprentices of the Plumbing & Pipefitting Industry ($80,000)
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America ($120,000)

This post was originally published by Climate Progress.


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Alison Baker
Alison Baker2 years ago

Clearly oil & gas companies don't need the tax breaks congress gives them -- at taxpayer expense. Anyone thinking Keystone's producing jobs & revenue needs to think again. The only thing not an illusion is the environmental destruction. The pictures from Canada don't lie.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Natasha Salgado
Natasha Salgado2 years ago

It's a done deal...sadly.

Bill Reese
Bill Reese2 years ago

Where were all the complaints when Obama on his own decisions decided to pump billions into Wind and Solar power companies that most have already gone broke. Of course he never misses a chance to make money for his champaign. Each company he (with our money) finaced contributed millions into his campaign coffers. Even the Unions are saying where is our return on money.

Come on people wake up it is not the Key Stone, it is Obama wanting to be King and he is making headway to become a ruler over a facsist government.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson2 years ago


Mary L.
Mary L.2 years ago

out with the old crooks in with new ones and out with them in 2 terms.

Jim N.
James N.2 years ago

Why do we allow lobbying where those with the most money have the most say? It's insane.

Ro H.
Ro H.2 years ago


Grace Adams
Grace Adams2 years ago

Algae Systems is 6 to 10 years from making its carbon-negative bio-diesel cost-competitive with petroleum. The technology must be licensed to all ten American too big to fail oil firms as soon as it is cost-competitive. In the meantime, economies of scale are needed to achieve cost- competitiveness. More sewage treatment plants and more Global Thermostats to provide the two raw materials would be a good investment if Algae Systems is anywhere near close enough to cost-competitiveness to make good use of them. The federal government could use half the resulting bio-diesel to green its own energy supply and give the other half to the ten American too big to fail oil firms to test market. I thank **** for blessing both Algae Systems and Global Thermostat through U S Navy.

Wendy Kobylarz

This has less to do with Obama than with the oil companies and demand for cheap gas/oil and a distinct lack of effort to push alternative energy jobs and mass transportation (remember passenger trains?) But what's sickening is the stupid unions and religious groups pushing for this thing. It's really horrifying, and I think Sierra Club could have scraped together a bit more oppositional funding.