Guest Post: Meet The Man Who Killed Keystone

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Wendy McElroy via Mises Canada,

On May 12, the United States Senate fell 5 votes short of the 60 required to invoke cloture. (Cloture is a way to close debate and cause an immediate vote on a bill.) The measure in question was the first energy bill to have hit that chamber since 2007. It was killed by the Keystone XL Pipeline project which would funnel Canadian crude oil from Alberta down to Texas refineries.

Republicans wanted to add an amendment to approve the project. Democrats wanted a stand-alone vote on it; with Democrats in the clear majority in the Senate, the project would have probably been defeated. But if Keystone had been approved, President Obama would have almost certainly vetoed it. The end result: no bill at all, with or without an amendment. Keystone is dead in the Senate, at least until 2015 when the November 2014 elections may have reversed the balance of power. Of course, there is always that veto waiting in the wings.

The stakes were especially high for about a half-dozen Democrats who do not tow the anti-Keystone line of fellow Democratic Senators. The dissidents come from states that are dependent on the oil or gas industry; they are nervously facing a tough re-election battle in November 2014. One of them is the influential new chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. As the new chairman, she’s been campaigning for re-election on the promise of “getting things done,” which is clearly not the case.

One man stands in her way. No, not President Obama, but the billionaire environmentalist Thomas Steyer. The leftwing Steyer undoubtedly is sincere in his green beliefs but sincerity on an issue is easier if you also stand to make a fortune from it. The conservative Daily Caller (Nov. 8, 2013) noted, “Most of Steyer’s $1.4 billion fortune came through investments in fossil fuels. In fact, Steyer’s biggest cash cow is Farallon Capital Management. Farallon has stakes in a number of oil, gas and pipeline companies, including a large investment in Kinder Morgan, an oil and gas pipeline outfit that plans to expand its own TransMountain pipeline to transport oil from Alberta to refineries and shipping terminals in the U.S. and Canada.” (Steyer actually founded Farallon with $15 million in start-up money.)

Keystone threatens Steyer’s profits in several ways. A glut of Canadian oil would drive down energy costs in America, and the new supplier would be a competitor. But more than anything else, the method of supply would also compete with Steyer’s self-interest.

The Business Insider (June 17, 2013) observed that, if TransMountain’s “expansion is approved, TransMountain will be the only available outlet for Alberta crude. If Keystone XL is killed, it will leave TransMountain as the only game in town for transporting oil directly from the oil sands to export terminals, up to 900,000 barrels a day. And most of that oil will be shipped west to China.”

No wonder Steyer has not breathed a word of criticism about TransMountain, which is functionally the same as Keystone. No wonder he lobbied against the Northern Gateway pipeline which would take oil from Edmonton to the west coast. It, too, would compete with TransMountain.

Steyer does not speak of his own profit, however. When the Washington Post (April 22, 2014) compared Steyer to the conservative billionaire Koch Brothers, who donate millions toward election campaign, he reportedly “chuckled.” Then, he replied “Their policies line up perfectly with their pocketbooks, and that’s not true for us,” he said. “What we are doing is we are trying to stand up for ideas and principles that we think are incredibly important but have nothing to do with our incomes or assets.”

But, then, Steyer is used to misrepresenting facts. The Washington Post Fact Checker awarded Steyer four Pinocchios – its highest ‘honor’ – for the depth of his inaccuracy about Keystone. The proximate cause of the award was a 90-second ad, which he both funded and starred in. There he stated, “[a] vote for Keystone is a vote to raise gas prices on Americans and send the profits to a foreign oil company” even though more oil and more competition would almost certainly lower gas prices.

A 90-second ad, of which Steyer is the funder and star, claims that Keystone would create only 35 permanent jobs. And, yet, a 2000-page State Department study reported, “Including direct, indirect, and induced effects, the proposed Project would potentially support approximately 42,100 average annual jobs across the United States over a 1-to 2- year construction period (of which, approximately 3,900 would be directly employed in construction activities).” The State Department is a critic, not an advocate of Keystone.

Steyer backs up his misrepresentations with cold cash. A lot of it. For example, he reportedly poured $8 million into Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s re-election campaign. He funded the Virginia campaign for one reason alone; the governor’s rival was a notorious skeptic on global warming who would have backed Keystone. For $8 million, Steyer eliminated an opponent, bought a politician and impressed the remaining Democrats with political muscle he could flex on their behalf.

For 2014, Steyer has announced plans to use his advocacy group, NextGen Political Action, to funnel about $100 million into the campaigns of Democratic congressional candidates. PACs, such as those founded by Steyer, are political action committees that can legally raise an unlimited amount of money from entities such as corporations and individuals; within loose restrictions, the money can then be directed to a specific party or candidate.

The Washington Post commented on Steyer: “He’s quickly emerged as a new and much-needed source of campaign money for Democrats eager to find ways to match the rise of conservative donors who are using new super PACs to spend millions of dollars attacking congressional Democrats on the airwaves …”

How desperate are the Democrats for money? They are willing to literally sell the Senate floor. From the evening of March 10th through to the next morning, about 30 Democratic senators held a 15 hour speechathon to address “climate change.” The event was planned at Steyer’s home with such influential Democrat Senators as Majority Leader Harry Reid.

How much did the Senate cost? With the dangled $100 million divided by 15 hours, the Senate was for sale at approximately $6 million an hour.

Political commentators are openly speculating on what Obama will cost. Keystone has strong bipartisan and public support; and even two environmental analyses by the State Department couldn’t point to any major negative impact of the project. Nevertheless, as the Sunshine State News (Fla., April 25, 2014) reported: “Never mind the Kochs. After assessing who did what bad to America lately, I nominate Tom Steyer for the top of the list. Last week the billionaire hedge fund manager from San Francisco bought off the White House to the tune of $100 million in order to delay the Keystone XL pipeline decision.” But, then, Keystone has nothing to do with “incomes or assets”; it is all about “ideas and principles.”

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Fri, 05/16/2014 - 13:59 | 4767104 Fred Hayek
Fred Hayek's picture

It'd be nice if this pretentious fraud could be conscripted into road crews cleaning up the next spill of oil at the next crash of railroad tanker cars.

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 14:16 | 4767158 Beam Me Up Scotty
Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

"Most of Steyer’s $1.4 billion fortune came through investments in fossil fuels".

"the billionaire environmentalist Thomas Steyer"

You mean another HYPOCRITE lefty?  Thats a shocker!!!

These kind of pricks use more "fossil fuel" in one trip across the country with their private jet, than I use in a whole YEAR in my whole HOUSEHOLD.

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 14:21 | 4767203 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

Al Gore's private jet flies on corn...

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 14:30 | 4767239 RockRiver
RockRiver's picture

Really? How? Please 'splain that to me.

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 14:52 | 4767269 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

Attention all rabid anti-tarsands environmentalists...


All you have to do is look at washing the oil out of the tar sands as a massive environmental clean-up project of a ginormous natural oil spill that doesn't use any taxpayer dollars and you are instantly cured or your affliction...

What have you got against clean oil-free soil anyway?

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 15:00 | 4767341 g'kar
Fri, 05/16/2014 - 15:54 | 4767523 Save_America1st
Save_America1st's picture

shouldn't this be called BRIBERY of government officials?  Shouldn't government officials who take BRIBES be forced to resign and tried for taking bribes and thrown in jail???

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 16:25 | 4767643 Keyser
Keyser's picture

Whatchu saying homes? We have the best gubbamint money can buy and this article proves it... 


Sat, 05/17/2014 - 08:50 | 4768998 GetZeeGold
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Word up dawg....we've got a President that only knows how to community organize. Unfortunately, that's not what we need right now.

Mon, 05/19/2014 - 07:09 | 4772972 N2OJoe
N2OJoe's picture

"Shouldn't government officials who take BRIBES be forced to resign...?"

No. They should be drawn and quartered.

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 16:51 | 4767714 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

No, the Supine Court ruled that corporations are people, and that bribing candidates with unlimited amounts of money is not bribery but "freedom of speech".

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 17:41 | 4767843 BurningFuld
BurningFuld's picture

I feel freer already.

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 19:59 | 4768114 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Puts "We the People" in a whole new light eh?

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 18:52 | 4767985 g'kar
g'kar's picture

In a sane world yes. Those aren't bribes though, they're campaign contributions.

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 16:44 | 4767696 torak
torak's picture

Who is John Galt?

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 18:43 | 4767964 BlindMonkey
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I am not sure but I am thinking he isn't an American.

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 17:22 | 4767786 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

Thanks for the informative link.

The article made me laugh, as it mentions previous oil-train ("bomb-train") wrecks and associated deaths, one in downtown Phili. Why do I find it funny? Because while grannie Penny is being felt up at the airport, and other daily deprivations of our Liberty in the name of  "security," a hardy motivated person could derail an "bomb-train" in some large town or city and do astronomical damage. LOL

Just goes to proves that it isn't about "security," but about money and power, as always.

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 18:49 | 4767980 g'kar
g'kar's picture

All too true.

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 15:24 | 4767423 NotApplicable
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Did I miss the sarc tag, or do you really think this way?????

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 15:42 | 4767472 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

I'm a tortured 50/50 on this one...

I think the oil company executives, their families and everyone who works in an executive function should be forced to drink bottled and untreated Athabaska river water provided for them by the Fort Chip First Nations...

That would clean things up in a hurry.

(Yes it's a mess but we both know that it will eventually have to be developed... hopefully responsibly)

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 17:24 | 4767792 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

Can we just agree to do the banksters first?!

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 17:55 | 4767871 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture


Sat, 05/17/2014 - 08:53 | 4769001 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture




I'm a tortured 50/50 on this one...


Let me help you with that. Do you like paying $4.00 a gallon for gas?

Sat, 05/17/2014 - 15:14 | 4769676 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

Now that you mention it I'm feeling a little less tortured today...

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 18:45 | 4767967 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

When you say "do" the bankers, what exactly are you saying?

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 19:13 | 4768022 kchrisc
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"Do," as in the short form of "guillotine."

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 14:25 | 4767214 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

And how much money does Mises receive from the oil industry in Canada?  Everyone is compomised. And worth pointing out:

And she's hardly alone among Obamas comrades. 

That out of the way, keystone is a bad idea on basically every level and anyone with a brain can see this plain as day. Those without brains go on and get angry at dem evil lefties tryin' to destroy deh world economy an' shit. 

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 14:37 | 4767263 buyingsterling
buyingsterling's picture

I'm glad you're coming around. Clearly any party that supports the death penalty for the crime of being an inconvenience is the FUCKING ESSENCE OF EVIL.





Fri, 05/16/2014 - 15:29 | 4767436 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

I'm not aware of a single industry that wants anything to do with any group of Austrian Economists (let alone any of the various Mises Institutes). They all much prefer the status quo of Keynesian banksters funneling the loot to them in order to purchase a Keynesian government.

In other words, they do everything in their power to avoid being the next dinosaur to die at the hands of creative destruction.

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 17:57 | 4767877 Greenskeeper_Carl
Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

Why don't you tell us then, exactly how much Mises recieves from the oil industry in canada, if you are going to make claims like that. And let me add to that, that oil is going to be extracted and used one way or another, this year or next decade, and all those green house gases you lefties seem convinced will finish off humanity any day now are going to be released one way or another, by us or by china. I would much rather conduct business more 'locally' with canada than any other country who hates us(not saying they don't have their reasons). And of course susan rice is trading on insider knowledge, all those parasites do. Which is why most of us on here want less of them, and less govt, unlike you, who, despite pointing her kind of hypocracy out, wants her and people like her to have MOAR control over us. All that said, I am against keystone, despite all of what i said, if it results in even one emminent domain abuse in which a person has their property stolen from them to give to this company

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 19:57 | 4768109 James_Cole
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And let me add to that, that oil is going to be extracted and used one way or another, this year or next decade,

Nope, it won't. 

I would much rather conduct business more 'locally' with canada than any other country who hates us

US is in the midst of an oil boom, keystone (though the propagandists claim otherwise) is primarily for export.

Which is why most of us on here want less of them, and less govt, unlike you, who, despite pointing her kind of hypocracy out, wants her and people like her to have MOAR control over us.

No, I simply see no difference between her and the corporate circles she runs in. Riddle me this, who is there to protect your American constitution? McDonalds? Comcast? GE? No, of course not, it'll be you and your community which is a hell of a lot like a small democractic government. 

Don't understand why people have such a difficult time reconcilling this..

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 21:12 | 4768290 Greenskeeper_Carl
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you havent answered my first qustion about the mises institute. which isnt surprising. Since you can't. and you think this oil wont be extracted why? and you always want more and bigger govt, JC. everything you advocate, one way or another, would require moar and bigger govt. Don't understand why you have such a difficult time reconcilling this...


Sat, 05/17/2014 - 02:19 | 4768751 James_Cole
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you havent answered my first qustion about the mises institute. which isnt surprising. Since you can't. and you think this oil wont be extracted why?

Mises canada investors hold stock in various oil / extraction / servicing companies - if they're questioning others whilst writing a very pro kxl article would be fair game to have full disclosure on their operation, particularly considering they are a 'think' tank. 

Oil won't be extracted because humans would be well extinct before that amount (tar sands combined with the higher quality / cheaper stuff that'd be used first) of oil could be consumed. So yeah, that oil will remain in the ground no matter what - unless jellyfish suddenly get interested in it down the road.   

and you always want more and bigger govt, JC. everything you advocate, one way or another, would require moar and bigger govt.

You're going to be governed either way, the world is not big enough to avoid this simple fact. The question is do you want to be governed by an accountable .gov or an unaccountable .gov (including other forms of government i.e. a multinational corp). 

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 15:06 | 4767351 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

"...HYPOCRITE lefty?"

The Environmental Left is used as cover.  A "false flag" of sorts.

Would it be easier to understand if they dressed as Polish soldiers and attacked a German radio station?

Geezus, don't be pulled around by your nose.


Fri, 05/16/2014 - 18:01 | 4767887 Greenskeeper_Carl
Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

winner. Nice analogy with the polish soldiers too. Just like the 'war of terror' is used by the right, (and, now the left as well. Ok, the whole govt uses that one). Both are just used as a distraction for the plebes while the ruling junta tramples our rights and steals more money. And these rubes buy it hook, line, and sinker.

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 15:09 | 4767374 SilverRoofer
SilverRoofer's picture

its easy to deny others for what you already have.Steyer is typical leftwinger

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 16:46 | 4767700 Pairadimes
Pairadimes's picture

Billionaire environmentalist.

I'm just gonna let that sit there and ferment a bit.

How fucked up is the world you live in when it has a 'billionaire environmentalist' in it?

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 19:53 | 4768095 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

Wonder if he knows some of the other billionaire enviromentalists like His Royal Virus, Maurice Stong, Al Gore, Goreg Soro's, .....hey this is quite a big club, wonder if they hang out and plan stuff together?



Fri, 05/16/2014 - 16:39 | 4767678 Blankenstein
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and there's more ...

"Out of college Steyer went to Morgan Stanley and worked on mergers and acquisitions for a few years before getting an M.B.A. at Stanford in 1983. Then he joined Goldman Sachs in New York, where he developed an expertise in risk arbitrage, and trained under Robert Rubin, who later became Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary (he also became a mentor to Steyer). "

Large footprint:

and also owns a house at Lake Tahoe.

Also has four children, so he is increasing the population:  NOT GREEN

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 14:13 | 4767160 Timmay
Timmay's picture

Or, we could get a nail gun and take care of this problem once and for all.

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 14:37 | 4767264 DESMO_RR
DESMO_RR's picture

Every one of those corrupt fucks needs to be taken out to the middle of PA Ave. and shot.

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 14:50 | 4767306 t0mmyBerg
t0mmyBerg's picture

Aye.  And when does the man that killed keystone get whats coming to him?  Sooner the better

Sat, 05/17/2014 - 08:41 | 4768987 drendebe10
drendebe10's picture

Lock n load all you US citizen tax paying serfs and peasants. Mission:.  Ruling political elite and their crony capitalists.

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 14:16 | 4767180 I am more equal...
I am more equal than others's picture



Smegma from the lowliest Koch brother's servant is more honorable than Steyer.

The Business Insider (June 17, 2013) observed that, if TransMountain’s “expansion is approved, TransMountain will be the only available outlet for Alberta crude.

No wonder Steyer has not breathed a word of criticism about TransMountain, which is functionally the same as Keystone.

Used douche from a P.I. whorehouse is more tolerable than Steyer.  

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 14:40 | 4767230 oddjob
oddjob's picture

Transmountain expsansion is the best worst option, because when the oil spills it will be in Burrard inlet and English Bay for all of Vancouver to see.

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 15:30 | 4767444 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Perhaps it will absorb all of the cesium that is piling up there?

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 15:37 | 4767465 oddjob
oddjob's picture

I knew hating Seafood would pay off in the end.

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 14:24 | 4767216 JLee2027
JLee2027's picture

When I'm justifying my life's work to the all-mightly I don't want to say "well, there was this pipeline that threatened a snail"....

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 14:46 | 4767283 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

The hypocracy of this douchbag rivals the height of Mt Everest.

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 14:50 | 4767303 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

Let me walk that statement back.  TransMountain being a corporation is a person.  Therefore this douchbag is simply doing his job for a constituent.

Move along....nothing to see.

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