How the Rockefeller Fund Killed Keystone

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President Obama’s recent decision to deny a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline was widely hailed on the environmental left. Particularly exuberant was the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), which declared on its website that the decision came “against great political odds and the deep-pocketed backing of the oil industry.” The specter of oil industry money and its nefarious influence on politics was a familiar environmental talking point. What the fund did not acknowledge was that its own deep-pocketed backing for environmental groups had a far more decisive impact on Obama’s decision to cancel the pipeline project.

Earlier this month the Canadian news channel Sun News uncovered a PowerPoint presentation by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund that lays bare its strategy of funding a host of environmental groups to thwart the Keystone XL pipeline as well as other development projects that the fund considered a “globally significant threat.” According to investigative reporter Lachlan Markay, the 2008 presentation “describes the allocation of $7 million to environmental non-profits for tactics that include the use of the legislative and legal systems to delay or derail energy production in the United States and Canada, and to ‘raise the costs’ of energy in both nations.” The Daily Caller reports that the 2008 strategy session also featured presentations from Rockefeller Brothers Fund program officer Michael Northrop as well as the representatives of several environmental groups, among them Corporate Ethics International, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Pembina Institute, a Canadian activist group. Together, these groups would emerge at the forefront of an alarmist scare-campaign that ultimately led to Keystone’s cancellation.

Tax records examined by the Daily Caller show that between 2007 and 2010, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund gave $1.25 million to Portland, Oregon-based Corporate Ethics International, an environmental group whose declared mission is to bring corporations “under the control of the citizenry.” A description of the grant by the RBF says that the money was intended “to coordinate the initial steps of a markets campaign to stem demand for tar sands derived fuels in the United States,” a reference to the Keystone pipeline, which would have transported oil from the tar sands near Alberta, Canada, to the U.S Gulf Coast. To prevent that from happening, in July 2010 Corporate Ethics International began a campaign urging American and British visitors to steer clear of Alberta during their travels as long as tar sands exploration was in progress. Considering that Alberta’s tourism industry generates $5 billion in annual revenues, the anti-Keystone campaign targeted the lifeblood of the province.

The campaign was backed by another RBF grantee, the Natural Resources Defense Council. With over $181 million in net assets as of 2010, the NRDC is one of the largest and most powerful environmental groups, and it used the full force of its clout to cast the Keystone project as a disaster in waiting. For instance, a March 2011 NRDC issue paper claimed that “the proposed pipeline presents serious environmental and health risks” and warned that it would be a threat to freshwater supplies in the American heartland. By November of 2011, Obama was reciting the NRDC’s claims virtually verbatim. In so doing, he was contradicting the findings of his own State Department, which after an exhaustive review of the Keystone project had concluded in August of 2011 that the pipeline would have “no significant impact” on land and water sources on its route. In the event, the NRDC proved more influential than the State Department.

While the NRDC ratcheted up the rhetoric of environmental calamity in the U.S., RBF funds helped other environmental groups make the same apocalyptic appeal in Canada. Thus one recipient of the funds was the Vancouver, British Columbia based environmental non-profit the Pembina Institute. The goal of the funding was to “prevent the development of a pipeline and tanker port that endangers the Great Bear Rainforest protected area.” Accordingly, the Pembina Institute warned of “disastrous health and safety impacts of unfettered, weakly regulated, and weakly monitored oilsands development.” The Pembina Institute also partnered with the NRDC to release a report claiming that bitumen from the oilsands is more corrosive and heavier than conventional oil, thus making a pipeline failure or tanker leak more likely.

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  • Flowerknife_us

    Sustainability? Just how many Humans would that include? With renewable energy being such a low % of total energy production, the Human count would seem to be rather low.

  • Don Kosloff

    Reducing the number of humans has long been an overt goal of various pseudo-environmentalists and pseudo-environmentalist organization. Some have openly supported the killing of large numbers of people.

    • pagegl

      If they are so down on human life they could help out by offing themselves.

  • mrbean

    The only way to get any agreement from leftists is to first understand the Vitio Carleone technique of negotiation. "Make them an offer they can't refuse."

  • jacob

    Watching all what is going on at government level, I don't doubt that our President
    agenda must include the preservation of our dependency on foreign oil, mostly
    Middle Eastern, specially Arab funding of the World Caliphate.

    But what is truly interesting is to find out what coq and bull story did the
    environmentalists come up with to block the Keystone project.
    Because down to the nitty-gritty, what happend to New Orleans at Katrina and
    which an abject and rotten media kept under wraps is that what happened there
    was caused by the stupidity of the environmentalists stopping the Corps of
    Engineers from building the spillway that could have avoided the disaster and
    the stupid judge who sided with them, because it would have affected the
    breeding ground of an inch long sardine….
    Now tell me the road to hell isn't paved with good intentions

  • dirt

    How much of those millions went into the pockets of Obama and his cronies? An investigation should be initiated for the potential felonious bribery!

  • Tony Kondaks

    Surprisingly,the Canadian edition of the Huffintonpost has in the past few days come out with not one but two blogs supporting Oil Sands production。Run by Danielle Crittenden,wife of David Frum,HuffPo Canada is refreshingly more to the centre than its left-slanting American counterpart. I suggest that Frontpagemag editors check this out; quite significant.

    • jr.

      But we still know who they are and what they represent..

  • Linda

    Do the Rockefellers maybe think that everyone who might know that Rockefellers are the OIL KINGS of America, and a few other countries, are dead and gone now and no one will catch the brazen hypocrisy? In fact, back in the day, Rockefeller either bought out or brought down any and all competitors in the oil market, whether they were big or small companies.

    So, what do you suppose the Rockefellers' real motive might be to keep Keystone out of the oil business? After all, it was old John D. Rockefeller who said, "Competition is a sin." It's in the dna.

  • Lloyd Miller

    We need more focus on the fact that ROCKEFELLERS still control the Rockefeller Bros. Fund. Promoting global warming propaganda, opposing fracking, and opposing pipelines RAISE THE PRICE OF OIL. The Rockefellers proved they are still involved in Big Oil when they organized a stockholder bloc at Exxon to REDUCE Exxon’s exploration and drilling efforts. Also, the Rockefellers are deeply involved in recycling petrodollars from OPEC, thus their pro-Muslim, anti-Israel orientation as expressed thru the Obama Admin. The open secret is that the ENVIRONMENTALISM the Rockefellers promote keeps the price of energy high, lining their pockets!