Keystone Foe’s TV Ad: ‘Sucker Punch’ Benefits China More than U.S.

Photograph by Brett Gundlock/Bloomberg

The TransCanada Corp. Hardisty Terminal 1 in Alberta, Canada, on Dec. 7, 2013

China is set to get a new role in the lingering argument over whether to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

For years, supporters of TransCanada Corp.’s $5.4 billion project argued that rejection of the application by President Barack Obama would lead Canada to ship its oil sands production West, and out to China. Now critics of the pipeline are tossing in their own version of a Red Scare.

Anti-Keystone XL activist (and hedge-fund billionaire) Tom Steyer is running a TV ad tomorrow that says the pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf Coast will actually benefit China, not American consumers.

In a television campaign dubbed “Sucker Punch” that is set to run on MSNBC before and after Obama’s State of the Union address tomorrow night at 9 pm EST, Steyer’s NextGen Climate Action committee says Chinese “government-backed interests” have invested $30 billion in Canada’s oil sands producers.

The Asian nation “is counting on the U.S. to approve refineries, oil sands crude would be refined in countries like China where current emissions standards allow three times more sulfur dioxide,” according to the OilSandsFactCheck website, which supports the project. Without the project, China “will have an even greater and more reliable supply of oil to import.”

Steyer is not the first critic to link Keystone to China.

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward Markey, then a member of the U.S. House, sought to impose a requirement that oil shipped through the pipeline stay in the U.S., an effort opposed  TransCanada. And earlier this month, Canadian musician Neil
Young began a concert series to protest oil sands mining and Keystone in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

“This fuel is all going to China, which is probably the dirtiest place on the planet,” Young told reporters before the show.

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