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 JohnsonCourt ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit Former GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting MORE (S.D.) and Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsThis week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Lift the Jones Act and similar restrictions for humanitarian crises Overnight Tech: White House unveils tech education initiative | Bannon reportedly sought to spy on Facebook | Uber CEO to appeal London ban | John Oliver rips AT&T-Time Warner merger 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 UdallDemocratic primary could upend bid for Colorado seat Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups Gorsuch's critics, running out of arguments, falsely scream 'sexist' 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.).