You are browsing the archive for State Department Oil Services.

Keystone Kops: TransCanada Spent $280,000 Lobbying For Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline In First Quarter

9:23 am in Uncategorized by Steve Horn

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

TransCanada, the multinational corporation hoping to build the controversial northern half of the Keystone XL pipeline, spent over $280,000 on lobbying the U.S. government in the first quarter (Q1) of 2013, according to lobbying disclosure records.

In addition to the $250,000 paid to Paul Elliott - TransCanada’s infamous in-house lobbyist and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s national deputy campaign manager during her 2008 run for president – three outside firms lobbied on TransCanada’s behalf to promote KXL.

The outside firms: Bryan Cave LLP, which reported $20,000 in earnings from TransCanda in Q1; McKenna, Long & Aldridge, which was paid $10,000 by TransCanada during Q1; and Van Ness Feldman, which TransCanada paid an amount under $5,000, falling under the mandatory reporting ceiling.

$280,000 is a tiny drop in the bucket compared to TransCanada’s $446 million first quarter profits.

The southern half of Keystone XL is currently under construction due to a March 2012 Obama Adminstration Executive Order. The northern half is still in the proposal phase. It would carry Alberta tar sands dilbit to the Gulf Coast refineries in Port Arthur, Texas, where much of it would be exported to the global market.

As seen in an earlier investigation conducted by DeSmogBlogmany of TransCanada’s lobbyists for KXL have direct ties to the Obama administration. The U.S. State Department has been tasked with the final decision on the pipeline’s cross-border northern section, a risky conduit between the carbon intensive Alberta tar sands and further global climate disruption.

Bryan Cave

The two Bryan Cave lobbyists on the KXL file are Brandon Pollak and David Russell. Pollak formerly served as Deputy National Director of Grassroots Fundraising for John Kerry’s 2004 run for President. Kerry now serves as the head of the U.S. Department of State, the body assigned to make the final call on KXL.

Bryan Cave signed termination papers with TransCanada on April 26 and will no longer be lobbying on behalf of KXL beyond the recently-ended quarter.

“Professionals from Bryan Cave were engaged for a period of time, but we recently determined that we did not need the same level of support from them,” TransCanada Shawn Howard said of the termination decision. “As a result, they updated their disclosure of clients and activities, in keeping with U.S. rules and regulations.”

McKenna, Long & Aldridge

The two hired guns tasked to lobby on behalf of KXL and CAPP at McKenna are Alex McGee and Andrew Shaw.

Alex McGee formerly served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and liaison to Congress on behalf of Secretary of Energy under President George W. Bush, Spencer Abraham. His biography on the McKenna website explains that “McGee was also a strategic player in the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005,” a bill that made the chemicals found within hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) fluid a “trade secret” and made exemptions to the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act for fracking via the “Halliburton Loophole.” He also worked on the Bush-Cheney 2000 Presidential Campaign and staffed Bush’s Presidential Inauguration Committee.

Andrew Shaw also passed through the revolving door as a paralegal at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under both President Obama and former President George W. Bush.

McKenna, Long & Aldridge also lobbies for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), describing its duty on the disclosure form as lobbyists on “U.S. energy or environmental legislation or policies with implications in regard to oil sands production and development in Canada.”

Van Ness Feldman

Van Ness Feldman KXL lobbyists include J. Curtis MoffattTom Roberts,Jonathan Simon and Lisa Epifani.

In Q3 and Q4 of 2012, Moffatt also lobbied on behalf of pipeline giant Kinder MorganRoberts served as Legislative Director of the EPA under former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton from 1990-1995, getting his gig at Van Ness in 1998. He joined Moffatt in lobbying on behalf of Kinder Morgan in Q3 and Q4 of 2012.

Epifani formerly worked alongside McKenna’s McGee as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs for the DOE under President George W. Bush, also serving as his Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy for the White House Economic Council before that. She joined Moffatt and Roberts in lobbying for Kinder Morgan in Q3 and Q4.

“Keystone Kops”

The revolving door between the agencies designated to make a good-faith science-based policy decision on the merits of the northern half of the KXL and the firms lobbying on behalf of TransCanada spins with rapidity.

Keystone Kops“ were fictional incompetent and corrupt policemen featured in silent film comedies in the early 20th century. As demonstrated over and over again by the Obama Administration’s ”State Department Oil Services” — aka the “police” asssigned to make a decision on the pipeline’s future — the decision over Keystone XL seems merely a 21st Century version of these legendary silent films.

Keystone XL North: TransCanada’s Controversial Shale Gas Export Pipeline Plan

3:07 pm in Uncategorized by Steve Horn

The battle continues over the future of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, with the Tar Sands Blockade continuing and a large forthcoming President’s Day anti-Keystone XL rally set to take place in Washington, DC.

pipelineIn a nutshell: Keystone XL, if approved by the U.S. State Department, will carry viscous and dirty tar sands crude – also known as diluted bitumen or “dilbit” – from Alberta, Canada down to Port Arthur, TX. From Port Arthur, the tar sands crude will be exported to the global market.

Muddying the waters on the decision is the fact that The Calgary Herald recently revealed that prospective Secretary of State, John Kerry, has financial investments in two tar sands corporations: Suncor and Cenovus. Kerry has $750,000 invested in Suncor and another $31,000 invested in Cenovus.

Which of course all begs the question: Is this another episode of State Department Oil Services all over again?

North America’s Shale Gas Industry’s Keystone XL

North of the border, TransCanada is proposing another export pipeline for the shale gas industry.

Dubbed the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project, the $5.1 billion project will carry gas obtained via the controversial fracking process from the Montney Shale basin westward to the coast of British Columbia. From there, the gas will be exported in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Asia starting in 2018.

“Gas producers in British Columbia’s Montney Shale, far from North American population centers, are seeking Asian markets for the heating and power-plant fuel,” the Houston Chronicle‘s “Fuel Flex” explained.

US Debate Over Shale Gas Exports Also Continues

Meanwhile, south of the border, debate continues over the future of U.S. gas markets.

On Jan. 24, the comment period closes for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) study on LNG exports.

That study, contracted out to the oil, gas and coal industry-friendly NERA Economic Consulting concluded that exports are a net benefit for the U.S. economically. The Sierra Club has filed a Freedom of Information Act to discern how the Obama DOE went about choosing NERA as the contractor.

“Deciding to export the U.S. gas supply is a major public decision,” Deb Nardone, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Natural Gas Campaign said in a press release. “We deserve a full and fair conversation about it. That’s why we deserve to know how and why DOE picked this anti-environmental, pro-corporate consultant for this crucial report.”

On top of its looming decision on the Keystone XL, it’s likely that the Obama Administration will make a final decision on whether or not to greenlight shale gas exports sometime in 2013.

Though it’s still the dead of winter, the policy agenda is about to heat up in the energy and environment policy arenas inside the Beltway in the coming weeks.

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
Read the rest of this entry →