Furthermore, it must be noted thatthese “philanthropists” are the same forces that caused the destruction theyclaim to fix. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has invested half-billion-dollarstake in Suncor Energy Inc., the corporation that started the Canadian tarsands oil industry.
As the biggest oil and gas producer in Canada, the tarsands by Suncor have had a huge ecological footprint and have destroyed theland, air and waters that belong to Aboriginal communities24,11. Further,BNSF has railways running across Indigenous reserves and has violated contractsbetween the tribes. It limits the lengths of the rails to 25 cars, however, theSwinomish Indian Tribal Community found that BNSF was transporting crude oil ontrains with 100 cars or more. Thus, its particularly ironic when Buffett’s NovoFoundation includes initiatives to help Indigenous populations. Furthermore, Buffett’sBerkshire Hathaway and Bill Gates own major stocks in ExxonMobil, a corporationwith close ties to the oil sands in Alberta. Exxon is also responsible for thedestruction of the environment, abuse of labour rights to name a few18. Whydo Buffett and Bill Gates care about the Keystone XL? WarrenBuffett’s interest in the Keystone XL project sparked due to his investment in BurlingtonNorthern Santa Fe railroad (BNSF) stock.
He began investing in 2007 and hadinvested around $44 billion by 2009. Rails have been extensively used to carrythousands of barrels of crude oil and BNSF was a lucrative move for Buffett totransport oil from the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota. The railindustry had increased its terminal capacity to transport barrels, with anaverage of 821,431 barrels per day by 2013. BNSF announced increasing theircarrying capacity to 1 million barrels a day out of the Williston Basin inNorth Dakota and Montana, with a projected indication to increase to 2 million.However, on September 19, 2008, TransCanada submitted an application for theKeystone XL pipeline extension which posed a direct threat to Buffett’s investmentin BNSF11. Therefore, the movement against the pipeline andsuccessful efforts to stop it would directly benefit Buffett since BNSF couldthen serve as the platform to transport crude oil, all while being under theradar of public scrutiny.
TheKeystone XL project essentially affects all invested in the tar fields and railindustry, including Bill Gates, the great philanthropist and founder of theBill and Melinda Gates foundation. In 2012, Bill Gates became the largeststakeholder in Canadian National rail (CN)11. Evidently, theKeystone pipeline negatively affects some of the richest and most powerfulinvestors.