A special column in the Financial Post links anti-pipeline activists and other environmentalists to parties promoting the American oil industry. The column describes a tangled web of funding involving many organizations. To help visualize the connections, we used details from the column to build the following infographic. Click on the image to open it in a new tab.
Environmentalism or Economic Protectionism?
Vivian Krause asserts that the anti-pipeline and anti-oil sands campaign, which promotes itself as a grassroots movement to protect the environment, is actually a well-funded and organized network with the goal of keeping Canadian oil in the ground to the advantage of American producers. “Anti-pipeline activism claims to be about the carbon emissions and the climate but what it amounts to is economic protectionism,” writes Krause.
The article explores the connections between the National Observer, the newspaper that broke the story that prompted the resignation of the NEB’s Energy East pipeline review panel, and various environmental organizations in the US. Krause asserts that paper receives funding from The Tides Foundation, a San Francisco-based organization that the article describes as “the funding and co-ordination juggernaut behind anti-pipeline activism.”
Krause notes that Tides funds “The Tar Sands Campaign, an international effort that aims to embarrass Canada, deter investment and stigmatize Alberta oil as the poster child of dirty fuel. The goal of this campaign is nothing short of stopping the export of Alberta oil by pipeline, rail and tanker.”
Alberta Carbon Cap Unwittingly Serving US Oil Industry?
The article also explores various organizations and funds with ties to Tides, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the New Venture Fund. Krause notes that the Rockefeller Brothers Fund was “financed by the famous oil barons of the same name.” She also notes that “One of the activists associated with New Venture Fund is Tzeporah Berman, who now co-chairs the Alberta NDP government’s Oil Sands Advisory Working Group.” Berman’s inclusion in the working group was controversial at the time.
Krause further implies that Alberta’s provincial carbon cap is the result of the anti-pipeline network’s manipulations: “When Rachel Notley’s NDP government announced a climate plan in November that would cap the Alberta oil industry’s allowable carbon emissions … the Rockefellers got exactly what their funding was meant for, even if that wasn’t Notley’s intention.”
Money Spent Opposing Canadian Pipelines, Not U.S.
Also noted in the column is the disproportionate amount of funding from Tides and its affiliates directed against Canadian pipeline projects versus their US counterparts. “In 2015, Tides paid $4 million to 50 anti-pipeline groups. Of that, $750,000 went to U.S. organizations while $3.3 million was paid out in Canada,” notes Krause. “A total of $615,000 went to the four environmental groups involved in the development of the Notley government’s climate plan: STAND, formerly Forest Ethics; The Pembina Institute; Environmental Defence; and Equiterre.”
You can read the full article on the Financial Post’s website.