Keystone Kops: TransCanada Spent $280,000 Lobbying for Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline in First QuarterPrimary
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.
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 DeSmogBlog, many 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.
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.”