MapLight reveals oil and gas influence behind Keystone XL

February 28, 2015

As the years-long debate over the Keystone XL pipeline continued in Congress, MapLight ensured that money’s influence was part of the national conversation. We revealed that:

  • Senators who voted to pass a bill allowing TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline without a presidential permit or additional environmental review received an average of 10 times more money ($236,544) from the oil and gas industry than did senators who voted “no” ($22,882).
  • Senators who voted down an amendment to the bill that would have reinstated Safe Drinking Water Act protections for areas close to fracking activity received an average of 9.7 times more money ($225,687) from the oil and gas industry than did senators who voted “yes” ($23,258).
  • The top five Gulf Coast refineries and their parent companies—Valero, ExxonMobil, Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66, and Motiva Enterprises (owned by Shell and a Saudi Arabian state oil company)—have spent $58.8 million to lobby the federal government over the past two years.

MapLight’s data was spread by, the Center for Environmental Health, the Sierra Club, Every Voice, the Democracy Initiative, Common Cause, and citizen letters-to-the editor advocating against the pipeline. Moreover, our findings generated nearly 100 news stories and op-eds, reaching 4 million people through MSNBC, Politico, VICE News, the International Business Times,, and more, including Argentine, Belgian, Chinese, Dominican, Emirati, Finnish, German, Italian, Swedish, South African, and Uruguayan press. The Keystone XL bill was vetoed by President Obama.