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Investigators and Activists Target Keystone XL Pipeline

Posted on Nov 7, 2011
Elvert Barnes (CC-BY-SA)

Friday, just two days before thousands of protesters encircled the White House, the State Department inspector general’s office said it would launch an investigation into the vetting process for a controversial oil pipeline that would snake its way from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

Among various objections to the deal:

» One of the main lobbyists for the pipeline just so happens to have been a senior staffer on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

» The developer was allowed to choose which company did the environmental review of the project, and it just so happened to choose one of its frequent clients.

» Contrary to the review, protesters say the pipeline could endanger environmentally sensitive areas and drinking water. They also object to the project as a doubling down on dirty energy at a time when the president has failed to deliver much hope for the climate crisis.

More from The New York Times:

More than a dozen members of Congress had asked for an independent inquiry into the department’s review of the 1,700-mile pipeline, citing reports in The New York Times and elsewhere that the State Department allowed the pipeline developer, TransCanada, to choose the company that prepared an assessment of the project’s environmental impact.

That company, Cardno Entrix, listed TransCanada as a “major client” on other projects and has a financial relationship with the pipeline developer.

The assessment found that the project would have “minimal” environmental impact even though it would pass through Nebraska’s sensitive Sand Hills region and traverse the Ogallala Aquifer, a critical source of drinking water in the Great Plains. The Environmental Protection Agency raised serious objections to an earlier version of the impact statement but has not issued its final verdict.


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Oceanna's avatar

By Oceanna, November 8, 2011 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

So the State Department is investigating its own conflict of interest?

“Of course, this isn’t another conflict of interest,” says the fox to the hens.
“You’ve got it all wrong to think that you know.”

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thecrow's avatar

By thecrow, November 8, 2011 at 5:35 am Link to this comment

Protest this pipeline while you’re at it:

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By Metrix, November 7, 2011 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The site noted above explains that the Keystone XL pipeline will deliver oil that is primarily intended for export—not domestic use. 

Much of the debate and coverage of the Keystone XL pipeline tends to overlook this aspect of the problem, namely that we would incur most of the environmental liabilities of the project, but little or none of the oil.

The export factor should also raise serious national security questions about how can we afford to expedite the depletion and export of whatever strategic oil reserves this continent does possess in this era of post-peak oil and oil wars.

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By ardee, November 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment

Thank you President Obama for proving, yet again, that you are an unfit leader and a shill for your corporate masters.

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