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Pipeline conflicts

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Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, 4:10 p.m.

There's more motivating two congressional Democrats' opposition to TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline than their professed environmentalism: Both have invested in companies with competing pipeline plans, creating blatant conflicts of interest.

That's what the most recent financial disclosures by freshman Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California show, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

Last year, in an anti-Keystone-XL Washington Post column that questioned “the wisdom of using tar sands oil,” Mr. Kaine did not disclose that he has invested between $15,000 and $50,000 in Kinder Morgan Energy Partners. Kinder Morgan has proposed expanding its Trans Mountain Pipeline, which carries crude oil from Alberta's tar sands to Canadian West Coast refineries and export facilities, as a Keystone XL alternative.

Mr. Lowenthal has invested between $16,000 and $75,000 in Kinder Morgan holdings, plus $15,000 to $50,000 in another TransCanada/Keystone XL competitor, Enbridge Energy Management. He voted last year against legislation to approve Keystone XL without the Obama administration signing off.

These competing proposals reinforce the State Department's recent favorable Keystone XL report, which concluded that Canadian tar-sands crude will be transported and burned even if that pipeline isn't built. And when Keystone XL opponents stand to benefit if a rival pipeline's built, their “no tar-sands oil” stance loses all credibility.

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