Friends of the Earth – 2013-05-20 00:44:25
(May 19, 2013) — In March, the State Department issued its environmental review of the dirty, dangerous Keystone XL pipeline. Ignoring the many studies which show that building the pipeline will accelerate climate change and endanger communities along its route, the State Department came to the outrageous conclusion that the pipeline will have minimal environmental impacts.
But it has now been revealed that the firm hired by the State Department to write this flawed review is a dues-paying member of Big Oilâ€™s mouthpiece in Washington, the American Petroleum Institute. And, many of the sub-contractors hired by the firm to do the Keystone review have deep ties to the oil industry.
No wonder that the Administrationâ€™s own Environmental Protection Agency has criticized the State Departmentâ€™s report.
The fact that the State Department ignored its own guidance and allowed a dues-paying member of the American Petroleum Institute to write the environmental review of the Keystone is scandalous enough. But making matters worse, State Department employees were actively involved in an attempt to cover up this firmâ€™s ties to Big Oil.
Thanks to some intrepid reporting from Mother Jones, we know that someone in the State Department redacted the official disclosure forms that would have revealed these ties.
The stakes in this fight couldnâ€™t be higher. We simply cannot allow the administration to decide whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline based on a flawed environmental report written by Big Oil.
Please write Secretary of State John Kerry and demand that he halt the review of the Keystone pipeline until he investigates how a Big Oil contractor was allowed to author the environmental report on the Keystone XL pipeline!
Dear Secretary Kerry:
I am writing to request that the Office of Inspector General initiate an investigation into the Department of Stateâ€™s selection of Environmental Resources Management, Inc. as a third party contractor to evaluate TransCanadaâ€™s proposed Keystone XL pipeline project.
Specifically, I am requesting an investigation into misleading disclosures on ERMâ€™s conflict of interest questionnaire; the Department of Stateâ€™s failure to independently verify ERMâ€™s statements; potential conflicts of interest between ERM and entities that may benefit from Keystone XL; the Department â€™s apparent attempt to conceal ERM employeesâ€™ experience on TransCanada projects; and whether the Department violated its own conflict of interest screening guidelines.
I am very concerned that, in hiring ERM to write the bulk of the draft environmental review of the Keystone XL, the State Department:
â€¢ Hired a company (ERM) with close connections to oil companies including TransCanada
â€¢ Hired a company (ERM) that is a dues-paying member of the American Petroleum Institute
â€¢ Concealed evidence of ERMâ€™s close connections with Big Oil, by redacting contractorsâ€™ biographies from ERMâ€™s technical proposal
â€¢ Failed to use the thorough conflict of interest vetting processes recommended by Stateâ€™s own Office of the Inspector General in 2012
When combined with the EPA’s own concerns about the report, I see serious reasons to question its legitimacy. We ask that you please halt the current Keystone XL review process, and demand an investigation into wrongdoing at the State Department, before the review process continues any further.
Thanks in advance for your attention to this important matter.
Thanks for taking action!
Friends of the Earth