Is the State Department’s EIS Biased?

There’s a clear conflict of interest at the U.S. State Department. Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager is a lead lobbyist for TransCanada, and it could explain why the U.S. State Department has issued such a flawed Environmental Impact Study.

The EPA has issued two scathing reviews of the State Dept’s EIS, and President Obama must acknowledge that, given this conflict of interest at the State Dept, they simply can’t be trusted to provide an honest and thorough environmental analysis of the Keystone XL pipeline. Regarding possible environmental impacts in Texas, the State Dept’s EIS specifically does not:

  1. Address the record drought in Texas.
  2. Address pipeline safety — specifically the threat of wildfires along the route and how a pipeline fueled fire might affect East Texas.
  3. Address the impact of hazardous tar sands oil spills on drinking water.

To learn more about the conflict of interest at the State Dept, read this story from last week’s Washington Post:

TransCanada pipeline lobbyist works all the angles with former colleagues

By Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson – Washington Post

September 22, 2011

More than two dozen State Department e-mails obtained by the advocacy group Friends of the Earth under a Freedom of Information Act request provide an unusual glimpse into the lobbying for the Keystone permit, which has become a battleground in the national debate overhow to address climate change.

They show how Elliott tried to exploit relationships built in political campaigns, with mixed results. The e-mails are almost all between Elliott and a special assistant to Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff. All three knew one another from working on Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Damon Moglen, who directs Friends of the Earth’s climate and energy project, said the e-mails also show a State Department official giving inappropriate “coaching” to TransCanada’s chief executive about how to respond to arguments against the pipeline.

Moglen said that Friends of the Earth would pursue additional documents. He said the documents released were numbered, but some numbers were missing. “There are clearly things that are not here,” he said. He also questioned why Elliott did not register as a lobbyist for a foreign company until Dec. 16, 2010 even though he was approaching State officials about the project more than a year earlier. Cunha said Elliott’s activities did not warrant a formal registration until “the last six weeks of 2010.”

Moglen said the June 28 e-mail exchange suggests department officials gave TransCanada special access to what is supposed to be an impartial process.“That is obviously not an independent, probing environmental review process,” Moglen said in an interview. “It’s, in fact, a closed loop.”

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