Keystone Pipeline Debate: Cleantech Breakfast

WCTA Breakfast: Keystone Pipeline Debate, May 3, 2012

Ross MacFarlane of Climate Solutions vs. Scott Farris of TransCanada Pipelines Ltd.

“The Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada’s pipeline proposal – at least for now – represents an historic win for the environmental movement.” –Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith of Grist

“I will build that pipeline if I have to do it myself.” –Mitt Romney

See the entire discussion on video with slides embedded here.

The debate over the Keystone Pipeline System is a critical 2012 election issue.  It is a wedge issue dividing those that believe job creation is paramount from those that would not risk damage to the environment.  It will have implications on jobs in Washington state companies that provide products, services, and technologies that supply the energy field.  The proposed pipeline would transport oil and natural gas from Alberta to refineries in Illinois, Oklahoma, and Texas. The project consists of the operational “Keystone Pipeline” and “Keystone-Cushing Extension,” and two proposed Keystone XL pipeline expansion segments. The Keystone XL has faced lawsuits from oil refineries and criticism from environmentalists and members of Congress. The State Department in 2010 extended the deadline for federal agencies to decide if the pipeline is in the national interest, and in November, 2011, President Obama postponed the decision until 2013.

  • Scott Farris is TransCanada’s Director of Government Relations for the Western US, a post he has held since 2005.  TransCanada, listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges, is one of North America’s leading energy infrastructure companies with diversified assets that include 40,000 miles of natural gas pipelines, oil pipelines, and twenty power facilities that include wind, solar, hydro, gas, coal, and nuclear generation.   A former journalist, including time as a bureau chief for United Press International, Farris has previously served as a policy and communications advisor to former US Senator Malcolm Wallop (R-WY), former Wyoming Governor Mike Sullivan, former California Governor Gray Davis, and former Portland, OR, Mayor Vera Katz.  Farris was himself the Democratic nominee for Congress in Wyoming in 1998.   He is the author of the book Almost President: The Men Who Lost the Race But Changed the Nation, which was published by Lyons Press in December 2011.  His second book, a comparative biography of Presidents John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, is scheduled to be published by Lyons Press in the fall of 2013.  Farris lives in Portland, OR, with his wife and their two children.  See Scott’s Keystone map here.
  • Ross MacFarlane manages Climate Solutions Business Partnership program, which helps build support in the region’s corporate community for strong climate and energy policy and private investment in solutions.  He is active in advocating climate and energy policy on both the state and federal levels.  He recently managed the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest, the first stakeholder effort in the nation to point a path to low-carbon alternatives to power the next generation of flight.  He has been selected by peers as a “Pivotal Leader,” which recognizes individuals who are have the skills and experience to drive the region’s clean energy economy.  Ross brings more than 30 years of experience working on public policy and environmental issues.  He was a partner at Preston Gates & Ellis (now K&L Gates) where he managed the environmental law practice and represented a wide range of public and private clients.  He was recognized as a “Superlawyer” in the areas of Environmental, Transportation and Public law.  A Northwest native, Ross is a graduate of Pomona College and University of Washington School of Law.  He is passionate about hiking, skiing, and traveling.  See Ross’ PowerPoint presentation here.