Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Former Keystone XL pipeline lobbyist hired by Obama campaign

Writing on the LA Times blog Neela Banerjee reports that the Obama re-election campaign has puzzlingly hired a lobbyist who had worked on lobbying for approval of the widely hated Keystone XL pipeline.  Environmental activists are working hard to block that pipeline with Bill McKibben describing it as "game over" for being able to control climate change if the pipeline project were to be allowed to go forward.  Obama ran in 2008 on a platform that included green jobs, green technology, and working hard to address climate change and environmental issues.  The Keystone XL project is exactly wrong for that sort of campaign platform.

The (former) lobbyist is Broderick Johnson, described as "founder and principle" of the Johnson Communications Group.  Last spring he was a lobbyist working for Bryan Cave LLP and his client roster included Microsoft, Comcast and TransCanada.  His work for TransCanada in turn focused on supporting the “submission for a presidential permit for Keystone XL Pipeline.”  He lobbied members of Congress as well as the Administration and the State Department.  However TransCanada denied he lobbied on behalf of the Keystone XL project.

The Obama campaign describes his role as “serve as a national surrogate for the campaign and our representative in meetings with key leaders, communities and organizations.  Broderick will be an ear to the ground for the campaign's political and constituency operations, helping to ensure that there is constant, open communication between the campaign and our supporters around the country.”


A little side story to this is that Johnson's wife is Michele Norris, host of NPR's All Things Considered.  She has announced she'd be taking a hiatus from that show during the campaign, and would refrain from covering the campaign.

The Keystone XL pipeline is a horridly bad environmental disaster from beginning to end.  The purpose of the pipeline is to carry "oil" extracted from the Alberta tar sands, pipe it to Houston area refineries and then sell the oil on the export market.  Because tar sands are poor quality "oil" resources, extraction involves huge machines scraping up the tar-soaked sands, carrying this sand to other gigantic machines that steam-treat the sands (at huge energy cost) to convert the thick sticky tar into something which can be piped long distance.  The pipeline route is planned to cross many environmentally sensitive locations, at huge risk in case of pipeline leaks or bursts.  The result will be a continuation of the regime of using oil, rather than switching to other energy sources.  See: 350.org to encircle the White House on Nov 6 protesting Keystone XL pipeline

The Obama Administration promised us during the campaign as well as via several actions since, such as the bootstrapping of a clean energy revolution, that official policy would be to encourage a switch to clean renewable energy.  In a weekly address last spring Obama suggested Instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, we need to invest in tomorrow's


See:

Former Keystone pipeline lobbyist hired by Obama campaign


350.org to encircle the White House on Nov 6 protesting Keystone XL pipeline