As I’ve argued before, the Obama administration’s relentless dithering on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline — a 1,700-mile transport project that would ship oil from Canada as well as North Dakota to refineries on the Gulf Coast — doesn’t have nearly as much to do with the president’s ostensible desire for so-called green energy as it does with his desire for the green lining the pockets of certain wildly wealthy and woefully out-of-touch Democratic donors.

The environmentalist movement, in their self-imagined righteousness, has determined that the Keystone XL pipeline heralds mankind’s worst development since… well, practically ever, actually, and with all of the fervor of crazed religiosity, they have set their sights and their dollars on thwarting Keystone as the trendy cause du jour. Never mind that, by doing so, they are denying Americans jobs and economic growth, but they just don’t seem able to grasp the concept that Canada will be developing and shipping their natural resources with or without the pipeline. Keystone would still be the best, most efficient way to do so, but if President Obama has a chance to keep flirting with these Democratic donors and teasing them out of their money while he goes off on grandiose tangents about slowing the rise of the oceans and whatnot, he’s going to do it.

Ryan Lizza has an excellent piece today over at the New Yorker about some of these specific anti-Keystone aficionados, starting with one Tom Steyer:

The President flew to San Francisco on April 3rd for a series of fund-raisers. He stopped in first at a cocktail reception hosted by Tom Steyer, a fifty-six-year-old billionaire, former hedge-fund manager, and major donor to the Democratic Party. Steyer lives in the city’s Sea Cliff neighborhood, in a house overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. As the President’s motorcade headed to the party, several hundred activists were assembling along the route to his second event—a dinner hosted by Ann and Gordon Getty, in Pacific Heights, on a street known as Billionaires’ Row. The protesters held banners that represented various causes, but most of them held professionally printed two-toned blue signs that said, “STOP THE KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE.” The “o” in “Keystone” replicated the Obama campaign logo.

Read on for a lot of great details (with such absolute gems as, “After years of watching rich people manipulate and wreck our political system for selfish personal interests, it’s great to watch a rich person use his money and his talents in the public interest”), but one big gist is that Steyer (who, incidentally, is also mounting a ‘bipartisan initiative on climate change’ with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, ahem, and former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson) is pushing his own four-part series of anti-Keystone ads with a $1 million ad buy, the first of which you can watch below. Message: Free trade actually is a zero-sum game that doesn’t mutually benefit all voluntarily cooperative parties in the long run, or something. …Even if that were true, the ad neglects to mention that energy companies within the United States — particularly in North Dakota at the moment — would also be using the Keystone pipeline to ship their domestically produced oil to market. Kind of a huge oversight, no?