Democrats and the Keystone XL Pipeline

An article from E&E Publishing (often paywalled, but not this article) has an interesting take on the different factions within the Democratic party, how much money they’re donating to Senate races, and where they stand on the Keystone Pipeline issue:

President Obama is poised to disappoint a valuable swath of his base no matter how he rules on Keystone XL. But with Democrats facing a possible loss of Senate control next year, would alienating pro-pipeline unions or anti-pipeline environmentalists sting harder for the party?

A definitive answer is unattainable, given that a final decision on the polarizing oil sands crude pipeline may yet slip past Election Day and that neither greens nor labor have offered overt threats to withhold cash from Democratic candidates. An¬†E&E Daily¬†comparison of top climate activists’ Democratic donations to those given by pro-KXL unions in a dozen hotly contested Senate races, however, offers an illuminating conclusion.

They present this graphic of donations from relative groups:

UntitledFrom E&E Publishing

This graph makes it clear that unions have donated significantly higher amounts of money than donors who are specifically focused on the pipeline. However, you can’t really break the union money down any further. While those unions may support the Keystone Pipeline, it is far from the only thing they care about, and I can’t imagine that rejecting the Keystone Pipeline would bother them nearly as much as the anti-KXL environmental voters. For the anti-KXL donors, you can count on the pipeline being a very important item on a very small list.

Read the thoughts of an anti-KXL fundraiser (Taylor) below:

Betsy Taylor, the climate strategist who spearheaded last year’s donor letter and a flurry of other public pleas for Obama to reject KXL, noted that the prominent Democrats who signed onto her effort would not act as a bloc during the midterm election season.

Amid an “epic struggle over our nation’s energy future,” Taylor said via email, allowing the heavy Canadian crude that KXL would carry turns Obama away from the International Energy Agency’s projection that averting a 2-degree-Celsius rise in global temperatures requires leaving two-thirds of global fossil fuel reserves undeveloped before 2050.

“How this struggle plays out in the flow of electoral dollars will vary from donor to donor,” Taylor said. “For many donors, funding will only go to genuine climate champions. KXL will be one of many important factors as donors determine who those champions really are.”

The 150 climate-minded donors aligned with Taylor have given another $572,796 so far this cycle to political action committees that could use the money to help keep the Senate blue. However, $400,000 of that total went from vocal KXL foe Susie Tompkins Buell to the super PAC American Bridge for a project said to focus on the presidential prospects of Buell ally Hillary Clinton.


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