The Keystone XL pipeline faces a new, formidable and deep-pocketed foe: TomSteyer, a California billionaire, has targeted the controversial Canadian project tofunnel Alberta’s landlocked heavy crude to Texas refineries on the Gulf Coast.For Mr. Steyer,Keystone “has become the defining issue in the climate changefight of our times,” said Chris Lehane, Mr. Steyer’s authorized spokesman. “He hasplenty of resources and plays to win,” Mr. Lehane said in an interview after Mr.Steyer waded into the Democratic primary race in Massachusetts with a threat toskewer a pro-Keystone candidate. That race is to select the party’s candidate forthe Senate seat vacated by John Kerry, an ardent environmentalist who, assecretary of state, will also play a key role in Keystone’s fate.Massachusetts “is the next front where the Keystone fight will be engaged,” Mr.Lehane said, adding that for Mr. Steyer, the bigger battle over Keystone was worth “tens of millions” in spending on political action, public awareness and otherunspecified efforts. “Keystone has enormous symbolic value” in the whole climatechange struggle, Mr. Lehane said.Mr. Steyer, 55, the founder of one of the world’s largest hedge funds, FarallonCapital, ended his active role as an asset manager last October to turn to full-timepolitical activism – andclimate change is, in his view, the gravest threat facinghumanity.Increasingly, Keystone XL is painted by its U.S. opponents as a thinly disguisedCanadian scheme to ship Alberta’s carbon-laden crude – currently heavilydiscounted in price – to Gulf refineries where it can be exported. A coalition of environmental groups opposed to Keystone has picked up powerful political alliesin recent days and, with the addition of Mr. Steyer, the war chest to wage anational campaign against the project in the decisive weeks ahead.Monday’s surprise target was Steve Lynch, a Democratic congressman seeking theparty’s nomination for the Massachusetts Senate seat vacated by Mr. Kerry, whowas named secretary of state by President Barack Obama after Hillary Clinton’sresignation.Mr. Lynch, who backs Keystone, will learn “there’s a price to pay,” Mr. Lehane said.In a toughly worded letter, Mr. Steyer and four young Massachusettsenvironmental activists, including a pair of high-school students, warned Mr. Lynchto “act like a real Democrat and oppose Keystone’s dirty energy. Or, get a sworn,binding statement – with securities law enforcement – from TransCanada and therefiners that all of the Keystone-shipped oil will stay [in the United States].” The Lynch campaign vowed not to bow to threats but seemed stunned thatKeystone, a pipeline that runs nowhere near the East Coast state – and a SanFranciscan worth $1.3-billion, according to Forbes – were suddenly playing majorroles in the primary.
Mr. President ObamaMarch 20, 2013Page 2 of 3