Thursday, March 20, 2014

151.4 - Update: Keystone XL pipeline

Update: Keystone XL pipeline

I've talked about the Keystone XL pipeline a number of times. Over the last month or so, I've gone after the State Department's Final Environmental Impact Statement, or FEIS, on the project; first for dodging the issue of the pipeline's impact on global warming, then for its lies and deceptions about the jobs it would but mostly wouldn't provide, then just two weeks ago about a scientific study showing just what the impact on climate change could be.

Now, another update about that same report.

It turns out that the development of the report was riddled with conflicts of interest.

We already knew that one contracting company which worked on the report had previously worked for TransCanada, the corporation that would build and own the pipeline. The issue was dismissed by an inspector general, who said this was all fine so long as the firm fully disclosed its ties to the industry and completed its work with TransCanada before undertaking the review - in other words, so long as I tell you I may well be biased, then I'm not biased. Or something.

By the way, that inspector general reached that conclusion even though the State Department had redacted the information from its report, thus serving to hide the contractor’s ties to the fossil fuel industry.

Now it develops that another firm contracted by the State Department to evaluate Keystone - specifically, to look at greenhouse gas emissions - also had ties to TransCanada. That company promised to take steps to "mitigate" any conflict of interest, but the State Department redacted that information as well, so what those steps might be and if they actually are adequate is unknown.

That same company, by the way, has also consulted to the American Petroleum Institute and to the fossil fuel industry generally. Which again, you wouldn't know from the State Department's report.

Just by the way, during the 90-day window for public comment on the report, there were over 1 million negative comments - and 60% of the positive comments were linked to people and organizations within the oil industry.


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