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TransCanada, Developer of Controversial Pipeline, Boosts Lobbying Spending

Corbin Hiar
iWatch News / News Report
Published: Thursday 26 January 2012
“Higher spending doesn’t prevent rejection of Keystone XL project.”

TransCanada, the pipeline company pushing the recently rejected Keystone XL project, spent $410,000 on federal lobbying during the last three months of 2011 – a new quarterly high for the company.

The total is $20,000 more than TransCanada spent in the previous quarter and nearly double the $220,000 it spent in the second quarter of 2011. Altogether, the company paid $1.33 million on lobbying in D.C. last year.

The lobbying total is small considering what was at stake. TransCanada was seeking State Department approval of the proposed 1,702-mile-long Keystone XL pipeline. The $7 billion project would have connect Canadian tar sands deposits to Texas refineries.

On Jan. 18, President Barack Obama denied the company's permit request. But the company quickly vowed to reapply, which suggests its surge of lobbying spending may continue in 2012.

TransCanada officials met with Republican lawmakers Monday to push for the pipeline. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) even had “folks from Keystone management as his guests at last night’s [State of the Union speech],” according to Brookings Institution's Stephen Hess.

Republican Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska has proposed legislation to streamline approval of TransCanada's next application. The North American Energy Access Act (H.R. 3548) would move authority for Keystone XL from the State Department to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – even though FERC's director of energy projects said at a hearing this morning that his agency lacks the authority to regulate pipelines.

Boehner has also considered reviving the pipeline fight by linking the project's approval to the upcoming payroll tax cut extension.

As the Center for Public Integrity has reported, TransCanada had already been lobbying heavily for the pipeline project in D.C. and Nebraska, the state most concerned about possible leaks. The pipeline would have crossed directly through Nebraska's environmentally sensitive Sandhills region.

The project continues to draw protests from environmentalists, primarily because of concerns about climate change. Refining gasoline from tar sands produces more climate warming greenhouse gases than processing conventional crude oil.

Reprinted by permission from iWatch News



If the synonym for corruption

If the synonym for corruption is "greasy' why are we surprised that Big Oil likes the pipeline. And don't forget--this is some of the least environmentally friendly extraction going on to get this oil. Help save Canada from itself. No big pipeline.

Who is accepting the money?

Who is accepting the money?

Who is accepting the money?

Who is accepting the money?

A study produced by Oil

A study produced by Oil Change International and Greenpeace looks at the economics of investment in tar sands production. My conclusion from reading the study: WITHOUT KEYSTONE, ECONOMICALLY FEASIBLE EXTRACTION AND REFINING OF CANADIAN TAR SANDS OIL IN THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE IS UNLIKELY. Keystone would provide the necessary link to get Canadian tar sands oil to the specialized refining capacity at the Gulf of Mexico with its deep water port, where it will be exported to more lucrative markets in Europe than those in the US. Stopping Keystone thus gives us time to take the fight to where it really belongs -- focusing on the climate catastrophe that tar sands oil represents. According to the study, the European Commission has mandated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and going forward "that could make processing tar sands feedstock unattractive for the increasing number of Gulf Coast refineries that are exporting diesel to Europe." Kill Keystone.

The Keystone XL pipeline

The Keystone XL pipeline would be an enormous physical structure spanning almost two thousand miles requiring special engineering almost every few yards of the way as it crosses mountains, lakes, rivers, forests, farmland, transmission lines and roads. It will have numerous pumping stations and "should" have a sophisticated electronic monitoring and control system, which itself would be subject to multiple failures.

There is a statistical certainty that such a structure cannot operate flawlessly over any lengthy period of time. It therefore follows there is a statistical certainty of spills. Trans Canada itself "guessed" it would suffer a spill every seven years...but their own pipeline experience is a dozen spills in a year. The Canadian government itself has delayed any approval of a pipeline on Canadian soil for almost a year. Environmental and property ownership factors are a major concern for them, as they should be for us.

The six states through which the pipeline is planned, Kansas, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, have all given TransCanada the power of eminent domain! They have given a foreign private company, transporting foreign private goods to be exported to foreign markets, through U.S. territory, the power to take private U.S. land. It's more than outrageous. It's thievery by TransCanada and the state legislators who bent to money. Some of the states have a modicum of private protection, but in Texas, if TransCanada wants your land, it's theirs.

The U.S. State Department estimates it will create less than 6000 temporary construction jobs. It's a certainty that much less than half of that number will be required to operate and maintain the structure. Indeed, Trans Canada is sure to try to keep their costs to a minimum after it's built,
increasing the probability of failure. They even applied for a safety waver to use thinner steel and higher pressures which was denied.

If the pipeline is built it will carry a very high sulfur content (diluted bitumen, or dilbit) that only a few refineries in the world can crack. China says it can take that much sulfur. In any event, there will be very little if any gas coming from the oil to show up in American gas tanks. The vast amount of fuel will be diesel because of the sulfur, and it will be exported to the highest bidders of central and south American countries and China. It won't lower the price of gas in the U.S. a single penny.

Surprisingly, in 2011 fuel was the largest U.S. export, which will grow even larger with the pipeline. It won't lower the price of gas here a single penny. In fact, it will raise the price of diesel for the Midwest farmers because there is a surplus of dirty oil now, which will become a shortage if the pipeline is built.

A little looking on the Internet about the pipeline shows the only real beneficiaries would be the oil companies, and state governments that will receive some transit tax, at some cost to the public well being. This is not even getting into the environmental costs of tar sands production and certain pipeline failures.

The pipeline has the appearance of a political boondoggle at the behest of big oil.

hate to clue you in but such

hate to clue you in but such pipelines already exist

They are under the authority of the the DOT

I'm sure part of the drive

I'm sure part of the drive for this pipeline is to utilize the refineries in Texas that are probably grandfathered in with old, out of date pollution "control" equipment.

Nothing Texas like better than more Pollution! "Smells Like Money!"

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