Billionaire 'absolutely' wants to sway Keystone XL decision

Billionaire environmentalist Tom SteyerTom SteyerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Jacksonville mandates face coverings as GOP convention approaches Steyer endorses Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary Celebrities fundraise for Markey ahead of Massachusetts Senate primary MORE said on Monday that he "absolutely" hopes to sway the final decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

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President Obama is expected to make a decision on the pipeline, proposed by TransCanda Corp., by the end of March.

Steyer's NextGen Climate Action organization attacked the pipeline, which would carry crude from the oil sands in Alberta to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico, at an event in Washington, D.C., on Monday.

The climate group posed the question, "does Keystone pass Obama's climate test?" The answer: "No."

"We don't expect [the president] to respond," Steyer told The Hill. "We wanted to systematically answer this question."

When asked if he hopes to sway the president's decision through public events like Monday's, Steyer said, "absolutely."

"If Keystone is decided by March, then the way this is decided is going to change a lot of things and puts us in a very different position on what we are going to be working on," Steyer said on NextGen Climate Action's agenda moving forward.

Lobbyists on behalf of the oil sands industry have said there are no signs that the pipeline would leave a carbon footprint.

The State Department, which is responsible for determining the pipeline's impact, said in its March draft review that Keystone's carbon emissions would not be significant.

Keystone aside, Steyer plans to throw his political muscle behind 2014 races with candidates who take a stand on climate change issues.

"We will be working on a bunch of races in 2014, and we are going to do a significant study in terms of the impacts of climate change economically," Steyer said.

Steyer would not name candidates he plans to endorse but said NextGen Climate Action would look at races that could be won and are important to win.