This morning, the latest in pro-tar sands spin went live. KeystoneXLNow.com takes aim at President Obama for failing to approve the Keystone XL project (even though the White House just announced approval of the southern leg today), calling it “an affront to millions of Americans out of work and an outrage to millions more who are paying higher energy costs as a result of this administration's policies.”
KeystoneXLNow.com invites users to send a message directly to the State Department to counterbalance “the crazy lefties [who] are already pouring in comments to give Obama an excuse to kill the pipeline.” The site calls on users to “push back by filling the official State Department docket with comments demanding they stop stalling and approve the Keystone XL pipeline now!”
Not only is KeystoneXLnow.com rife with faulty facts, but its backers and secret funders make an oil trail back to the GOP and oil-backed right wing think tanks.
KeystoneXLnow.com argues the U.S. State Department should expedite the review process of the Keystone XL because it could take years, and, worst case scenario, Canada will simply give up and build the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline to ship tar sands crude to Asia.
Failing to approve this tar sands pipeline project now will threaten “about 20,000 immediate jobs, a secure supply of North American oil, billions in private investment, and the global efficiency benefits of connecting a major crude source to the world’s most efficient refining center,” the site claims.
Canadian oil giant TransCanada quickly tweeted about the campaign, which claims to have sent 13,000 emails and letters so far.
A closer look at the website registration for KeystoneXLnow.com reveals the site was registered this morning to Phil Kerpen of the free market group American Commitment.
According to its website, American Commitment is “dedicated to restoring and protecting America’s core commitment to free markets, economic growth, Constitutionally-limited government, property rights, and individual freedom”.
The Washington Post calls American Commitment “the latest GOP player”, and notes the new group has already raised $7 million to attack Democrats, mostly at the state level. Apparently they aren't only focused on state-level battles.
In addition to his role as the president of American Commitment, Phil Kerpen is a columnist on Fox News Opinion, chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition, and author of the book Democracy Denied, part of the Heartland Institute's Author Series.
Kerpen previously worked for the Club for Growth, a Club offshoot called the Free Enterprise Fund and the libertarian Cato Institute.
Kerpen also spent the last five years working at Americans for Prosperity, co-founded by David Koch. Kerpen will not confirm whether the Kochtopus is bankrolling his latest front group.
As for the job creation claims that KeystoneXLnow.com touts, even TransCanada acknowledges that the claim that the project will create 20,000 immediate jobs is false.
TransCanada itself claims the project will create 13,000 direct construction jobs, a number from a report TransCanada commissioned from the Perryman Group. The Perryman Group, however, has refused to release important data behind its estimate, and there are deep flaws in their research methodology. In reality, TransCanada is counting “job years” in its job-creation estimates. In other words, TransCanada believes the project will produce 6,500 jobs that last for two years only.
Six thousand five hundred jobs is a far cry from the 20,000 KeystoneXLnow.com claims are at stake, but according to an independent assessment by Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, even the 6,500-job estimate is exaggerated. According to their analysis, the project would produce between 2,500 and 4,650 construction jobs – and could even end up costing the country jobs.
KeystoneXLNow.com also claims that KXL will provide “a secure supply of North American oil”, and blames the Obama Administration's policies can for high energy prices. But according to TransCanada, KXL will increase the price of heavy crude oil in the Midwest by almost $2 to $4 billion annually, and those prices could further escalate over several years. This is because tar sands crude that now supplies Midwest refineries will be diverted so it can be sold at higher prices to the Gulf Coast and other export markets.
Consumers in the Midwest could pay 10 to 20 cents more per gallon for gasoline and diesel – adding $5 billion to annual US fuel costs.
In case there was a shadow of a doubt, KeystoneXLnow.com is little more than a secretly funded special interest group backing GOP candidates, using misinformation that is delaying our transition to a clean energy future.