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January 24, 2012

Big Oil's Marching Orders to GOP: Risk Middle Class Tax Relief to Protect Our Profits on Keystone XL

While President Obama and the State Department wisely decided to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline last week, a new joint Big Oil-GOP plan would tie the pipeline to important tax cut legislation, threatening to sink a bill that would save 160 million Americans hundreds of dollars a year.

President Obama has already said "no" to Keystone once, declaring that the risky project was not in our national interest.  A 1,700 mile pipeline running from Alberta, Canada to Texas, Keystone XL would move highly toxic and corrosive tar sands crude over some of our nation’s most critical water sources. And it would be run by Transcanada Corporation, a company that’s last pipeline spilled oil a dozen times in its first year of operation.  

Grassroots activists achieved a huge victory for clean air, clean water, and the health of American families by working tirelessly to stop Keystone XL in its tracks. But the President’s decision is not stopping Big Oil executives in their relentless pursuit to profit at any cost.

On Monday afternoon, officials from Transcanada directly advised Republican lawmakers on legislative strategy to revive the Keystone XL proposal during a Capitol Hill meeting according to a Politico report.

While most Americans couldn't get the time of day from a member of Congress, Congressional Republicans always seem to find time to get together with their Big Oil patrons. From securing generous subsidies to BP and Exxon to fighting against fuel efficiency standards, the results of their collaboration are rarely good for American families -- and this time was no different.

Following their strategy session, Republicans unanimously agreed to attach a provision forcing approval of Keystone XL to any viable bill –- including the upcoming extension of a middle-class payroll tax cut. In other words, they are plotting to push this highly risky pipeline on our country by tacking it onto a bill critically needed by American families, forcing legislators to vote for Big Oil's pet project in order to provide tax relief for working Americans.

Now, while millions are struggling to make ends meet, Big Oil billionaires and their political friends are huddling behind closed doors to hatch a scheme that will hold tax relief for the middle class hostage. They are proving yet again that they are willing to sacrifice anything –- whether it's the health or the wealth of American families –- to pad the profits of a few Big Oil CEOs.

This shameless tactic is clear evidence that our fight against Big Oil on Keystone XL is not over, and we will continue to have to stand up to deep-pocketed attacks against the air we breathe and the water we drink.

-- Tony Cani, National Political Director

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