Big Oil Might Be Getting a Little Too Cocky

Yesterday was a good day for wildlife, thanks to the outcome of several major votes in the US Senatebut perhaps not so good for Big Oil. In a gaffe reminiscent of “Dewey Defeats Truman” the American Petroleum Institute (the industry’s all-powerful lobbying arm and professional mis-informers) issued a press release thanking Congress for doing API’s bidding once again. From POLITICO:

“API supports the Senate approval of Amendment 1537 to authorize the building of the Keystone XL pipeline,” said a press release that landed in reporters’ inboxes at 4:50 p.m., about 30 minutes after the vote.

The headline cheered: “Bipartisan Senate majority approves building Keystone XL pipeline.” Technically, that’s true: 56 senators, including 11 Democrats, voted to in favor of Sen. John Hoeven’s amendment to the highway bill.

But it needed 60 votes to pass.

Big Oil jumped the gun yesterday, declaring victory on Keystone XL before having to issue an embarrassing retraction
After a months-long campaign of fabrications, outright lies, massive donations to politicians, and behind-the-scenes arm-twisting, API and TransCanada were poised to ram their project through Congress despite its horrific consequences to theenvironment and public health.

But it ultimately failed due to heated opposition from landowners, tribes, conservationists, scientists, human rights activists and others. 

National Wildlife Federation’s Jeremy Symons said in a statment:

The Keystone amendment was another political favor for Big Oil that would come at the expense of prudent safety considerations to protect communities, drinking water and wildlife.  We are pleased the Senate stood up to oil giants and sided with the American public.

This isn’t the last we’ve heard of the pipeline — far from it — but it’s a victory you can feel good about, and know that your voice made a huge difference. 

For more on Keystone XL and the threat of tar sands mining, visit