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The fine folks over at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are organizing their own Keystone XL pipeline protests. They are upset that President Obama has not approved the pipeline from Alberta to Texas that will benefit oil and pipeline companies. ALEC has identified the Keystone XL pipeline as "a critical project for America." To counter grassroots demonstrations against the pipeline, ALEC has written resolutions that have recently been passed in two states (Maine, South Dakota) and introduced in six more states (Iowa, Washington, Missouri, Mississippi, Minnesota, and Michigan).

The resolutions in each of the eight states have similar content and language, which  promote importing oil from Canada and calls on the president to approve the project without further delay. Resolutions in Minnesota, Michigan, and Mississippi even contain identical text drawn from a TransCanada press release. Apparently ALEC neglected to mention the ongoing audit of TransCanada's pipeline safety being conducted by Canada's National Energy Board. A former TransCanada project engineer complained of substandard practices. This follows 14 leaks and a temporary shutdown in 2011 of TransCanada pipelines in the US.

These resolutions are discussed in some detail in articles in Truthout and Common Cause's Common Blog, although neither mention the passage of resolutions in Maine and South Dakota. (Note: the Common Blog post incorrectly identifies SR 103 as coming from Indiana rather than Iowa).

ALEC has been busy. Last month they introduced bills in three states (Colorado, Oklahoma, and Arizona) that require teaching that climate change is just a controversial theory in public schools.

I was puzzled by one element of ALEC's praise the pipeline bills. Each bill contained language lauding shale oil from the Bakken formation. Fortunately, Canada's chief negotiator (and member of Parliament), Rob Merrifield, cleared up the mystery.

On Keystone, Mr. Merrifield reminds U.S. legislators that the pipeline project would also help ship American oil from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota and Montana – petroleum that could comprise as much as 20 to 25 per cent of shipments. “Some don’t even realize that it will include their own oil.”
Looks like ALEC was able to get all the latest talking points into their resolutions.

Merrifield also mentioned the importance of finding "companies that share Canada's interest" in selling the pipeline.

Mr. Merrifield said his assignment has taught him the value of finding private-sector allies in U.S. congressional districts, in order to make his case to members of the House of Representatives in Washington. Companies that share Canada’s interests can make the case more forefully, especially to congressmen and women who face re-election every two years.
Time to move forward on climate and kill the Keystone XL.

 photo Screenshot2013-01-14at125208PM_zps69ea0183.png

Originally posted to Climate Hawks on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 07:20 PM PST.

Also republished by American Legislative Transparency Project and South Dakota Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Government of the United States Fights Back (8+ / 0-)

    against Washington.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 07:22:05 PM PST

    •  The funniest thing I have seen thus far (12+ / 0-)

      Check this out:

      The Yellowhead MP estimates he now spends nearly half his working week on his U.S. assignment, which he was first given in early 2012. He’s made more than a dozen trips to the United States on the file – most recently last week for meetings and the U.S. National Prayer Breakfast – to drum up support for the Keystone project, beat back protectionist Buy America measures and smooth cross-border trade.
      A member of the Canadian government attending the U.S. National Prayer Breakfast to sell a tar sands pipeline. I can only imagine the pitch. God will be mad if we do not buy more tar sands oil from our neighbors to the north.

      Be radical in your compassion.

      by DWG on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 07:30:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No more Blazing Saddles clips, if you don't mind. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, One Pissed Off Liberal


      Actually, /nt is text.  Should be /nmt.  Otoh, that permutation can apply to lots of posts, so as it approaches universal applicability, meaning is progressively lost.

      And I can't stop double spacing.


      "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

      by nailbender on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 07:35:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  TransCanada is an ALEC member (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, ybruti, True North, DWG, Kombema, Eyesbright

    From the Common Cause documents

    July 2010

    American Legislative Exchange Council
    Natural Resources Task Force
    Beth Jensen
    Private Sector Member (M1)
    Manager, Government Relations
    13710 FNB Parkway
    Omaha, NE 68154
    Phone: 402.492.3400 FAX: 402.492.7491
    Then in
    November of 2011
    Resolution in Support of the Keystone 1 XL Pipeline BE IT RESOLVED BY THE [INSERT LEGISLATIVE BODY] OF THE STATE OF [INSERT STATE]:

    WHEREAS, The United States relies – and will continue to rely for many years – on gasoline, diesel and jet fuel despite the recent focus on renewable and alternative sources of energy. In order to fuel our economy, the United States will need more oil and natural gas while also requiring additional alternative energy sources such as ethanol and other renewable energy sources; and

    WHEREAS, The United States currently depends on foreign imports for more than half of our petroleum usage. As the largest consumer of petroleum in the world, our dependence on overseas oil has created difficult geopolitical relationships with damaging consequences for our national security; and

    WHEREAS, oil shale deposits in the Bakken Reserves in Montana and North Dakota and South Dakota are an increasingly important crude oil resource, with an estimated 11 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil, and there is not enough pipeline capacity for crude oil supplies from Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas to American refineries; and

    WHEREAS, Canadian oil reserves contain an estimated 173 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Canada is the single largest supplier of oil to the United States at 2.62 million barrels per day and has the capacity to significantly increase that rate; and 7

    WHEREAS, the Keystone XL pipeline will, when completed, carry 700,000 barrels of North American oil to American refineries in the Gulf Coast region and construction of the project will create 120,000 jobs nationwide, create $20 billion in economic growth and generate millions of dollars worth of government receipts; and

    WHEREAS, A recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy found that increasing delivery to American refineries from Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Alberta, as well as Texas and Oklahoma to American refineries has the potential to substantially reduce our country's dependency on sources outside of North America; and

    WHEREAS, Canada sends more than 99% of its oil exports to the United States, the bulk of which goes to Midwestern refineries. Oil companies are investing huge sums to expand and upgrade refineries in the Midwest and elsewhere to make gasoline and other refined products from Canadian oil derived from oil sands. The expansion and upgrade projects will create many new construction jobs over the next five years and, in [INSERT STATE], substantially add to our state's gross state product; and

    WHEREAS, The same money used to buy North American oil will likely later be spent directly on U.S. goods and services in contrast with the money sent to hostile oil-producing governments that is later used to further anti-democratic agendas. Supporting the continued shift towards reliable and secure sources of North American oil is of vital interest to the United States and the state of [INSERT STATE].

    NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That we, the members of the [INSERT LEGISLATIVE BODY] of the state of [INSERT STATE], support continued and increased development and delivery of oil derived from North American oil reserves to American refineries, urge Congress to support that continued and increased development and delivery, and urge Congress to ask the U.S. Secretary of State to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project that has been awaiting a presidential permit since 2008 to reduce dependence on unstable governments, improve our national security, and strengthen ties with an important ally; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Clerk of the [INSERT STATE LEGISLATIVE BODY] transmit duly authenticated copies of this resolution to the Speaker and Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, to the President Pro Tempore and Secretary of the United States Senate, to the members of the [INSERT STATE] Congressional delegation, and to the news media of [INSERT STATE].

    In addition - the Premier of Saskatchewan and staff attended the November 2011 meeting of ALEC, when the resolution was introduced for a vote.

    •  I grew up near the Canadian border, and I'd always (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eyesbright, MNDem999

      thought over the years that if WE in the U.S. of A. did something dumb, greedy, or destructive, the reasonable, level-headed Canadians would be sure to do the opposite.

      How bitterly ironic that they may end up initiating and perpetrating what may be most heinous act of environmental depravity in modern history -- and that Americans will be mere collaborators, rather than leaders on this one. Just goes to prove the toxic addiction of fossil fuel reserves as a systemic mind- and culture-altering methamphetamine poison for any country that discovers them.

      "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by Kombema on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 09:50:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let's find a way to pull all ALEC's teeth (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DWG, Kombema

    while we're at it.

    I am ashamed to have to admit that one of my two state representatives was ALEC's Legislator of the Year in 2012.

    Organ donors save lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate.

    Why are war casualty counts "American troops" and "others" but never "human beings"?

    by Kitsap River on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 11:44:39 PM PST

    •  It will take increasing the awareness (2+ / 0-)

      of the American people. It will require more coverage of the ALEC influence. I doubt most Americans would be pleased to learn that companies get together and write model legislation which Republicans on the state level introduce in lockstep. For that matter, it will take Dems willing to use the introduction of ALEC sponsored bills as a campaign issue.

      Be radical in your compassion.

      by DWG on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 03:42:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My quickie (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    on this had less substance but focused on the absurdity of the Charge of The (dirty) Light Brigade

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:02:24 AM PST

  •  With the current money=power dynamic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eyesbright, DWG

    I don't think we mere mortals will be able to stop corporate insanity with just ballots. We need boots on the ground. The more boots the better.

    With our "news media" filled with fluff and nonsense  and propaganda 24-7 I'm really glad that the Internet exists. "Fighting the Power" would be impossible without the ability to organize and communicate as we can in its current incarnation.

    I'm sure it was an oversight on someone's part. Unintended consequences and all.

    •  Plenty of consequences (1+ / 0-)

      All intended, I am afraid. Far from being the information age, it is the disinformation age.

      Be radical in your compassion.

      by DWG on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 11:01:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dunno (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "Twitter" seemed to play an integral part in demonstrations that ended up overthrowing dictatorships in North Africa. The 'Net is heavily censored in China.

        I'm sure it can be "fixed" here.

        •  Yes, but (2+ / 0-)

          What we seeing across the globe are governments cracking down on internet access. Not just China. In the Arab Spring movements, they were able to get around internet blackouts by hooking up to feeds in neighboring countries. It makes it harder to communicate with fellow activists when internet content is censored on a broader level. Even here, government surveillance of the internet and electronic communications is far too high. All in the name of keeping us safe from terrorism, don't you know.

          Our government could have chosen to protect our rights to free speech and demand warrants for surveillance of private communications, but chose not to. Too much of the FISA debacle has been bipartisan.

          Be radical in your compassion.

          by DWG on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 12:27:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the heads up on the Michigan resolution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have posted news of that resolution and a link to this diary on internet list, Enviro-Mich

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