The US State Department is starting to release 1.2 million public comments on the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. Going into the comment period, environmental groups geared up to show their muscle. They promised that they would deliver one million comments from ordinary Americans who oppose the pipeline, which would create an estimated 20,000 jobs. The one-million comment march would, according to the pipeline’s foes, show a strong grassroots opposition to it, while also showing strong support for President Obama’s position scuttling the pipeline.
Keystone XL critics said they amassed more than 1 million comments against the pipeline to carry oil from Canada, showing what they called grassroots opposition to the $5.3 billion project.
Keystone will “contribute dramatically” to global warming and pose an “unacceptable risk to water,” according to a letter posted on the website of environmental group 350.org that visitors could electronically sign and submit to the State Department, which is reviewing the comments.
“The president said that he needed a movement to compel him to act,” Daniel Kessler, a spokesman for 350.org, said in an e-mail. “People are more fired up about this issue than any other enviro issue in a generation.”
If that’s true, Kessler may need to find a new definition for “fired up.” Or “more.”
As the 1.2 million comments begin to emerge from the State Department, more than half of them turn out to have come from Americans who support the pipeline. A source at the Consumer Energy Alliance told me today that 332,350 of the comments were gathered up by that organization. The CEA very much supports the Keystone XL, for its job creation, its promise of lowering Americans’ fuel prices, and for its positive impact on energy security.
The CEA also amassed 1,074 letters from elected officials in 24 states who support the pipeline.
The CEA was not the only pro-pipeline group gathering signatures. The American Petroleum Institute, which also supports the XL, amassed about 300,000 comments supporting it. All tolled, the two groups piled up well over 600,000 comments, or about half the total 1.2 million that the State Department will release.
That leaves about 600,000 available for 350.0rg, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups that oppose it.
Their goal was one million.
They didn’t even come close.