In 2014, when the KeystoneXL pipeline needed a PR boost, it tapped union man Ron Berringer to be the blue collar face of the workers TransCanada’s pipe employed. In 2017, ahead of a KXL permit hearing, Berringer appeared again to lobby for the pipeline’s approval. And in 2021, after President Biden revoked the climate-killing pipeline’s permit, there was Berringer.
As Adam Aton reported last week for E&E, Berringer’s Laborers' International Union of North America and some other unions have been lobbying President Biden on pipelines and gas. According to United Association General President Mark McManus, President Biden said he was “all for natural gas,” which is obviously very concerning for the climate.
That said, Aton reports that “a White House official” said the administration would judge pipelines and infrastructure based in part by its ability to “help meet the president's goal of net-zero [emissions] by 2050.” That means that people like Berringer can still build pipelines, but they’ll just need to be for sending carbon pollution back into the ground, not pumping it out!
But that’s not conducive to fossil fuel industry profits, so of course the rightwing noise machine is also at work on the KXL issue. For example, Geoff Dembicki recently revealed at VICE how Grover Norquist-founded Americans for Tax Reform is trawling social media to catapult commenters into Fox News pundits.
Nothing particularly shocking in Norquist’s anti-government group scouring social channels for new people to promote, but it’s solid reporting showing once again how often larger forces are working behind the scenes to make supposedly everyday workers the face of pipelines that would most greatly benefit white collar executives.
And the people on the receiving end of this propaganda? Come back tomorrow to read part two, in which we examine what it really took for one climate denier to change his mind.
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