Campaign against Canadian Keystone XL pipeline driven by US foundation millions

A Powerpoint presentation obtained by The Daily Caller shows that during a July 2008 meeting, the $789 million Rockefeller Brothers Fund proposed to coordinate and fund a dozen environmental and anti-corporate activist groups’ efforts to scuttle pipelines carrying tar sands oil from Canada to the United States.

The most recent incarnation of that pipeline plan, the Keystone XL project, was the subject of intense public controversy until the Obama administration rejected it in January.

The 2008 meeting consisted of presentations from Rockefeller Brothers Fund program officer Michael Northrop, Corporate Ethics International Executive Director Michael Marx, Natural Resources Defense Council attorney Susan Casey-Lefkowitz and the director of a Canadian activist group called the Pembina Institute.

(RELATED: See the 2008 Powerpoint slideshow)

Northrop’s presentation described the extraction of oil from Canada’s vast tar sands oil deposits as a threat to environmentalists’ efforts to curb global warming. He outlined a “globally significant response” consisting of a “network of leading US and Canadian NGOs” engaged in a “coordinated campaign structure.”

TheDC made repeated requests for comments from Northrup, Marx and Casey-Lefkowitz. None of them responded.

The subject of U.S. interests raining money on environmental organizations north of the border is a front-burner issue in Canada.

On Jan. 15, Alison Redford, the premier of the Canadian province of Alberta, told a Global News television host that she resents some Americans’ use of hidden money and secretive agendas to affect Canadian energy policy. “I don’t like the fact that there are people that would try to hijack this process for their own political ends,” Redford said.

“It’s not about the money. It’s about the transparency of the process.”

Concerns about that lack of transparency found their vent on Feb. 9 when Brian Jean, a Conservative member of the Canadian Parliament, called for legislation to ban deep-pocketed foreigners from bankrolling what he called Canada’s “radical” green movement.

In retrospect, Northrop’s proposal and others like it appear to be squarely in Jean’s crosshairs. Northrop’s presentation promised funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation in the amount of $7 million per year. Named in the presentation were 12 participating environmental pressure groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and the Sierra Club.

According to Canadian writer and researcher Vivian Krause, U.S. foundations have poured more than $300 million into Canadian environmental groups since 2000. One foundation, endowed by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, has been single-handedly responsible for $92 million of that total, Krause wrote Jan. 17 in Canada’s Financial Post. Foundations flush with the wealth of computer pioneers William Hewlett and David Packard, she added, sent another $90 million to wage green-politics wars in the Great White North.

“Canadians can take care of Canada,” Krause told TheDC. “The Rockefellers and other billionaire philanthropists should spend their money reducing poverty in the U.S. and around the world, not on manipulating markets, swaying investment capital and protecting trade interests.”

Krause argued in the Financial Post that one outgrowth of demonizing oil development in Canada is an atmosphere in America that favors green-energy subsidies like the now-infamous Solyndra debacle. That company, a solar panel manufacturer, declared bankruptcy in 2011 after receiving $535 million in loan guarantees — funds that U.S. taxpayers ultimately had to pay the company’s creditors.

“The campaign against Canadian oil, put on steroids by U.S. foundations, has created a negative foil,” Krause wrote, “a background of bad press and fear without which it would have been more difficult to push through the billions in U.S. government grants, loans and subsidies that were made in the U.S. in order to develop renewable energy.”