They downplayed the opposition and reinforced the message that the pipeline is the best course for the both the U.S. and Canada.
“We always are concerned when there’s opposition to our projects, but it’s not a surprise,” said Alex Pourbaix, president of oil pipelines and energy at TransCanada, during a reporter roundtable Tuesday at the National Association of Manufacturers’ headquarters in Washington. “My experience is the events over the weekend are not getting nearly the coverage in the media they would have a year, year and a half ago. So I’m of the view that the temperature is going down on this issue.”
Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune scoffed at that statement.
“That TransCanada would say ‘the temperature is going down’ on dirty and dangerous tar sands that would only cause global temperatures to rise shows just how out of touch they are with reality,” Brune said. “Whether they’re denying that Keystone XL is an export pipeline or ignoring the significant international news created by the nearly 50,000 Americans who stood up for climate solutions, it’s clear that no fact or truth is sacred to TransCanada.”
Organizers originally estimated that 35,000 people participated in Sunday’s rally against Keystone but now say that “more than 40,000” attended the event. Either way, they billed it as the largest climate rally in U.S. history. (The United States Park Police does not give crowd estimates.)
The event drew political and Hollywood stars, including former White House green jobs czar Van Jones, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and actresses Rosario Dawson and Evangeline Lilly. It also attracted national and international coverage in outlets such as CNN, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Spanish-language news organizations in Miami and Puerto Rico, The Globe and Mail in Canada and The Guardian in the United Kingdom.
But National Association of Manufacturers President Jay Timmons had a different yardstick in mind Tuesday: the 20,000 manufacturing and construction jobs and 118,000 related jobs that supporters say the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline would create.
“We have to ask ourselves, ‘What else is the administration waiting for?’” Timmons said. “The questions about the path have been resolved. It’s time for the administration to approve this project and put 140,000 Americans to work.”