UPDATE – 1/31/14 3:15pm ET: The State Department has just released its final Environmental Impact Statement on Keystone XL. Here are a few of the headlines:
— Jennifer A. Dlouhy (@jendlouhyhc) January 31, 2014
BREAKING: State Dept. raises no major environmental objections to Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 31, 2014
— Post Health/Science (@PostHealthSci) January 31, 2014
— Erica Martinson (@EricaMartinson) January 31, 2014
— Oil Sands Fact Check (@OSFactCheck) January 31, 2014
The Keystone XL pipeline “is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands…”: EIS: http://t.co/OM8S1KvveO
— Amy Harder (@AmyAHarder) January 31, 2014
– Originally posted 1/31/14 3:03pm ET –
In the wake of news from Bloomberg that the State Department’s long-awaited Environmental Impact Statement will “probably disappoint environmental groups and opponents of the Keystone pipeline, according to people who have been briefed on the draft of the document,” anti-Keystone XL activists have flown into hysterics, making a number of outrageous and random claims.
But as the Washington Post pointed out this morning, Keystone XL opponents have a bit of a problem getting the facts straight. That’s where OSFC comes in – we’re on hand today to respond to opponents’ claims with nothing but the facts.
We’ll get started with these three claims below, but stay tuned as we’ll be posting throughout the afternoon.
#1 From Politico White Board: “Today’s expected release of a final State Department environmental study will be a “green light to escalate our efforts,” said May Boeve, executive director of the climate group 350.org, which has helped escalate the project’s prominence through more than two years of protests and arrests at the White House.
Beginning Monday, 350.org said it will partner with CREDO and other groups to ‘organize hundreds of rallies across the country to show President Obama that they’re watching his next move.’ They’ll use props like a 300-yard inflatable pipeline and “mass actions” in D.C., the groups said.”
FACT: 350.org may organize hundreds of rallies, but whether anyone actually shows up is another question. OSFC has been on location for most of these events and frankly, the attendance was pretty weak. Take, for instance, their recent protest at the White House Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Even after announcing it far and wide, scoring coverage with a number of DC news outlets, Politico reported that only “about 10 people showed up.”
The same thing happened at their protest at President Obama’s speech in Georgetown. Politico reported, only “About a dozen anti-Keystone protesters gathered outside President Barack Obama’s speech in Washington today” and they “did not see the president, as his motorcade entered the hotel from the back.” And the list of sparsely attended protests goes on – for the full story take a look here: Sparse Attendance at Keystone XL Protests – Meanwhile Americans Say Yes to Keystone XL
#2 Politico White Board: “The Keystone XL review process has been riddled with oil industry influence, climate activists said today in advance of the release of a final State Department environmental study, referring to news media reports indicating the findings will be unfavorable to their side.”
FACT: This claim stems from Keystone XL opponents’ long attempt to pin a conflict of interest charge on the State Department’s draft Environmental Impact Statement. But when the Office of the Inspector General looked into their accusations, no conflict of interest was found. As Politico reported on February 9, 2012:
“There is no evidence of conflict of interest or bias in the State Department’s review of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, the department’s inspector general has found. The department did not violate its role in providing unbiased oversight, and there is no evidence that communications between State Department officials, TransCanada, the Canadian government and both supporters and critics of the pipeline violated federal law, according to the IG report delivered to Capitol Hill Thursday and obtained by POLITICO.”
Meanwhile, Congress is asking if it’s Keystone XL opponents who may be the ones embroiled in a conflict of interest. As Fox News reported, “Newly disclosed emails suggest senior policy officials at the Environmental Protection Agency and environmental groups are working closely to kill the Keystone XL pipeline, critics say.” This week, House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy asking for documents relating to the agency’s communications with environmental organizations regarding the Keystone XL pipeline approval process.
#3 Tweet from @lbarronlopez with The Hill: “While early for a decision, green groups tell me if Obama green lights Keystone XL there will be negative consequences for Dems in midterms.”
FACT: Actually as Roll Call pointed out, “Democrats know rejecting Keystone XL will hurt their chances” – that’s largely because “Keystone XL has more than a 60 percent approval rating in states with open races.” In fact, an overwhelming majority of the American people, union, labor and business groups, Congressional Democrats and Republicans are telling President Obama to say yes to Keystone XL. Anti-Keystone XL groups have long acknowledged public support is not behind them, so this threat to make the pipeline an election issue is empty.