Oil lobby goes for broke on Keystone vote

The American Petroleum Institute is “pulling out all the stops” in a new ad campaign that presses Senate Democrats to vote for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
The new TV and radio ad buys, which the oil lobby called “significant,” began running Friday and Saturday in five states: Colorado, Delaware, Minnesota, New Mexico and South Dakota.

The ads target Democratic senators who might vote yes on building Keystone if it comes up for a vote on the Senate floor this week.

Sens. Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonFormer GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting Housing groups argue Freddie Mac's loss should spur finance reform On Wall Street, Dem shake-up puts party at crossroads MORE (S.D.) and Chris CoonsChris CoonsOvernight Defense: GOP blasts latest Gitmo transfer | Boeing defends Iran Air deal Key Dem: US-Iran relations may get worse before they get better The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Del.) have already said they would vote no on binding legislation to approval the pipeline, but the oil lobby is trying to change their minds with the new ad campaign.

Sen. Tom Carper (Del.), another target of the ads, hasn’t taken a firm position on which way he’d vote.

The petroleum institute said it's using every tool in its arsenal to build support for Keystone.

“We are certainly going to use up all of our outreach options at this point,” said Cindy Schild, the group's downstream operations manager for refining and oil sands. “We want to convince and show senators that their constituents want them to do the right thing.”

The other ads urge Colorado Sens. Mark UdallMark UdallEnergy issues roil race for Senate Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium Two vulnerable senators lack challengers for 2016 MORE and Michael Bennet and Sens. Al Franken (Minn.) and Tom Udall (N.M.) to vote "yes" on Keystone.

“Hopefully this time around the Senate has what it takes,” Schild said of approving the $5.4 billion project.

The Senate is expected to start debate Tuesday on an energy efficiency bill, which could bring a vote on a Keystone XL amendment. It's also possible that the pipeline will come up for a stand-alone vote, an option that is being pushed by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).