Here’s a little fact that should send Hollywood eco-warriors and climate justice activists into a righteous rage: Over the last five years, the United States has added the equivalent of nearly 14 Keystone XL pipelines to its pipeline network.
You read that right. Fourteen. According to the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL), the US has built roughly 19,200 kilometres of new pipelines since 2010, or almost 14 times the length of TransCanada’s 1,400-km Keystone XL project. The additional capacity brings the total pipeline mileage in the continental United States to more than 106,000 kilometres, which means the Keystone XL proposes to add a whopping 1.3% of additional capacity.
So where, you may ask, was the hysteria and inflated rhetoric over this mass expansion of the American pipeline network? NASA scientist James Hansen famously claimed building Keystone would be “game over for the planet.”
Where were he and his morally superior celebrity peers the last five years when America’s evil energy empires built enough pipeline to stretch from New York to Los Angeles five times over? Where were the bankrolled and coordinated public relations campaigns to stop these projects? Where were the protests outside of the White House?
The answer, it would seem, lies in who bankrolls them. According to exhaustive research by author Vivian Krause, a total of $75 million has found its way into the coffers of environmental activist groups that oppose Canadian energy exports for the express purpose of demonizing Canadian oil along with anything proposing to move it.
Krause’s research shows American mega charities like the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Sea Change Foundation and Tides Foundation have pumped dozens of one-time payments to organizations opposing anything that seeks to move Canadian energy, from Keystone XL and Northern Gateway to Energy East and Line 9.
The payment cover letters Krause obtained tell the story of Canada in the crosshairs:
• Keepers of the Athabasca Watershed Society received $50,000 for “development and implementation of an InSitu campaign; continued work on pipelines; and participation in other Alberta events and campaigns.”
• The Natural Resources Defence Council received $150,000 for “policy analysis and advice; for education of policy makers; for organizing opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands expansion generally.”
• Environmental Defence got $212,500 for “outreach and education on the Line 9 and Energy East pipelines; ongoing promotion of Tar Sands Reality Check; and leading government relations work in Ottawa.”
The campaign against Canada has, unfortunately, worked. President Barack Obama has used Keystone to shape his environmental legacy, rejecting the project and claiming it would contribute to rendering “large parts of the Earth from being not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes.”
Meanwhile, Obama has pledged $18 billion to build a pipeline in Kenya that mirrors all the stumbling blocks his administration has cited against Keystone. It moves oil for export, it incentivizes more production, and poses risks to an environmentally sensitive region.
And if this global double standard wasn’t enough, our own politicians seem to have fallen victim to the anti-Canadian foreign influence. There’s simply no other way to explain Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, mere weeks after approving an 8-billion-litre raw sewage dump into the St. Lawrence River, rejecting the Energy East pipeline on the basis of negative environmental impact.
This concerted smear campaign against Canadian energy is now at the point that it doesn’t need the foreign money. When we can’t even agree on how move oil across our own country, why would any other country consider moving it across theirs?
If we continue down this road, degrading our own industry and giving its opponents an even bigger stick to whack us with, we’re only hurting ourselves. Our children will inherit an industry that is reviled even within our own borders while our competitors reap the rewards.