On Friday August 2nd, the State Department made a statement that may signal the end of the Keystone XL pipeline. The State Department is now questioning the veracity of the findings of a favorable review of the Keystone XL completed last year. According to diverse sources the consultant (Environmental Resources Management or ERM) that produced the report has been paid by TransCanada, the pipeline developer. ERM is also reported to have close ties with the American Petroleum Institute, an oil industry lobby with financial ties to TransCanada.
The proposed Keystone XL would ferry diluted bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands to US Gulf Coast refineries. Because the pipeline crosses international borders, the project requires State Department approval. Questions about the impartiality of the State Department environmental impact statement (EIS) will likely delay the final verdict on the pipeline and may very well kill it altogether.
The US Environmental Protection Agency slammed the State Department’s original report for grossly misrepresenting the environmental threats posed by the pipeline.
The reports of the conflict of interest were unearthed by Brad Johnson in a Grist post which revealed that ERM was paid by TransCanada. Another report by DeSmogBlog revealed that ERM is a dues-paying member of the American Petroleum Institute.
As reported by Zack Coleman at The Hill, these findings were confirmed by State Department spokesman Doug Welty.
The Keystone XL looks as though it may finally succumb to a barrage of blows. First the pipeline was hit by President’s blatant rebuff of the projects job benefits, then from an oil leak in Alberta’s tar sands, and now from the State Department’s acknowledgement of conflict of interest.
While it appears that TransCanada’s American dream may be coming to an end, we would do well to remember that in both 2011 and 2012 the Keystone XL seemed to be dead, yet managed to revive. It remains to be seen whether the pipeline can recover from this most recent blow.
Even if this pipeline does die, TransCanada’s hydrocarbon hydra has already found a new pipeline pathway to ferry its dirty dilbit to world markets.
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
The Fate of the Keystone XL Pipeline in the Wake of President Obama’s Georgetown University Speech
Unstoppable Oil Leak at a Tar Sands Production Site in Alberta
EPA Slams State Department on the Keystone XL
Obama Says the Number of Keystone XL Jobs are “Negligible
Obama Rebuffs the Keystone XL’s Economic and Jobs Benefits
Unions Oppose the Keystone XL in the Jobs vs. Environment Debate Cornell University Questions the Economic Benefits of the Keystone XL Pipeline
American Employment: Keystone XL vs Green Jobs
A New State Department Environmental Impact Assessment Clears the Keystone XL Pipeline
Obama to Expedite the Keystone XL Pipeline
The DoD’s Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap (CCAR) Excludes Keystone XL
The Center for Biological Diversity CREDO and Friends of the Earth Slam Keystone Reversal
Bill McKibben on Obama’s Keystone XL Reversal
Indigenous People and Students Protest Obama’s Reversal on Keystone XL
Republicans Vow to Continue Push for Keystone
Obama Cancels the Keystone XL Pipeline Project
Republicans Use Blackmail to Gain Support for the Keystone XL Pipeline
President Obama Stops Keystone XL Pipeline