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The billionaire fighting to stop Keystone XL

Both sides of the debate

Reuters takes a  look at “a hedge fund billionaire turned eco-activist” who after making his money in oil and gas in the 1980s has turned 180 degrees and is now on a mission to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.

Tom Steyer is using his estimated $1.4 billion net worth to lobby US President Obama to reject the $8 billion pipeline project to connect the oil sands of Alberta Canada, to US refineries on the Gulf.

Pipeline projects like Keystone is seen as critical to improve the economics of the oil sands which are constrained by lack of access to new markets in Asia.

Some are skeptical of the motives of Steyer who’s been dubbed the liberal counterpoint to the controversial billionaire Koch brothers who have spent their oil money fighting the Obama administration on issues like climate change and environmental legislation.

The company Steyer founded but left to focus on environmental issues in 2012, Farallon Capital Management, continues to invest in the sector including in BP shortly after the massive Gulf oil spill, but also in Kinder Morgan, a direct competitor of Transcanada, the company advancing the Keystone XL project.

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SEE ALSO: Oil sands crude doubles since December