A diverse group of over 150 companies, including AT&T, Motorola, Siemens, Volvo and Wyndham Worldwide, have urged President Obama to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Companies signing the letter include many one would expect – fossil fuel companies such as Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Shell; utilities such as American Electric Power and NextEra; and business groups the US Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers and Business Roundtable.
But firms pushing for the pipeline, which would carry millions of gallons of crude oil from Alberta to the Gulf coast, also hail from the telecoms, hospitality, electronics, finance, consulting, pharmaceuticals and agriculture sectors.
President Obama has said he would block the pipeline if it increases carbon emissions. The companies and business groups say that approval for the project would maintain investor confidence; enhance American competitiveness by increasing energy security; and cut energy prices for households and businesses, thereby encouraging investment. They say the environmental risks can be managed, and the net environmental impact will be minimal.
It will be interesting to see how their stance plays out in the public arena. A majority of Americans – 65 percent – approve of the Keystone XL pipeline, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll. But nearly a third – 30 percent – oppose it. General Electric, to take one company signing the letter, has poised itself as a green leader with its Ecomagination initiative. Will a sizable chunk of consumers see that reputation as compromised by its stance on Keystone XL?
Other companies signing the letter included ArcelorMittal USA, Arch Coal, ABB, Avery Dennison, Air Products, AK Steel, Bayer, BlackRock, Boeing, Cargill, Con-way, Caterpillar, CH2M Hill, Charles Schwab, Dow Chemicals, Fluor, Eastman Chemicals, Ecolab, Honeywell, Ingersoll Rand, Marathon Oil, KPMG, MeadWestvaco, Peabody Energy, PPG, Waste Management.