UPDATED: 7/11/2013: Bad Enough That Keystone EIR Drafted by TransCanada, But State Dept Doesn’t Even Know Its Route

Trans Canada Tower, Calgary Alberta

Trans Canada Tower, Calgary Alberta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know this is old news and I posted a blog entry about this in the past: https://gettingonmysoapbox.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/state-departments-keystone-environmental-report-drafted-by-keystone/

But I’ll say it again:  the much maligned, EPA-criticized, corporate-corrupted environmental impact report (EIR) that was supposedly drafted by the State Department was instead drafted by TransCanada’s own bought-and-paid-for contractor.  That’s no longer breaking, stop-the-presses news.  But now we have the State Department actually admitting it on the record without any seeming shame, guilt or remorse.

In response to a recent Freedom of Information Act request asking for GIS data on the Keystone pipeline’s presume route, the State Department responded with a (rather understated) letter that said this, in part:

[T]he Department does not have copies of records responsive to your request because the Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone pipeline project was created by Cardno ENTRIX under a contract financed by TransCanada Keystone Pipeline LP, and not the U.S. government.

Letter available at:  http://www.steamingmules.com/images/kxl/DOS-FinalRejectionPg1-062413.jpg

So that’s bad, right?  TransCanada drafted their own glowing EIR, which said (no surprise) it wouldn’t harm the environment.  What a joke our government is — so mired in corporate greed and corruption that corporations get to write their own government reports.  Sickening.

But how about this?   This admission came out because this person wanted to know where Keystone was being routed through the U.S., you know, like the precise area to be covered?   The response from the government showed that even the State Department doesn’t know the true Keystone route! 

Neither Cardno ENTRIX nor TransCanada ever submitted GIS information to the Department of State, nor was either corporation required to do so. The information that you request, if it exists, is therefore neither physically nor constructively under the control of the Department of State and we are therefore unable to comply with your FOIA request.

So it’s bad enough that the fox is watching the hen house, but now our government doesn’t even have information on where this pipeline boondoggle will run, even though it’s sort of its business to know that if it’s going to weigh-in on the environmental impacts of the surrounding aquifers, ranches, lakes, streams, rivers, etc.?

This is sickening.

Once again, what’s good about Keystone again?  Absolutely nothing.

UPDATED 7/11/2013:  Holy conflict of interest!, it gets even worse.   According to a great primer in Bloomberg Business Week (no left wing shill there), called “Secrets, Lies, and Missing Data: New Twists in the Keystone XL Pipeline,” there are serious conflict of issues throughout the Keystone process.  Not only did the first EIR drafter, Cardno ENTRIX have a conflict, as explained above, but so did the crooked, paid-off company replacing it as EIR drafter:

Well, it happened again. Two environmental groups, Friends of the Earth and the Checks and Balances Project, have revealed that ERM lied about its own ties to TransCanada. Specifically, these environmental watchdogs report (pdf):

• In papers filed with the State Department in June 2012, ERM certified that it had had “no existing contract or working relationship with TransCanada” for at least three years. But public records show that TransCanada, ERM, and an ERM subsidiary, Oasis Environmental, have worked together at least since 2011 on the Alaska pipeline project.

• ERM’s own publicly available documents show that the company has business with more than a dozen companies with operating stakes in the Alberta tar sands.

• ERM staff working on the Alaska Pipeline Project have attempted to cover up ERM’s ties to TransCanada. On May 14, 2013, Mark Jennings’ LinkedIn profile listed him as Socioeconomic Adviser for ERM and listed among his roles “Consultant to ExxonMobil Development Company for the Alaska Pipeline Project.” By June 6, amid mounting calls for an investigation of ERM’s ties to the oil industry, his LinkedIn profile made no mention of ERM.

In other words, ERM appears to have as many conflicts of interest as Cardno Entrix ever did; it’s as if the inspector general never established new protocols for avoiding or, at least, disclosing such conflicts. (ERM did not return this reporter’s call on deadline.) The State Department was supposed to have independently verified any claims made by contractors. How hard would it have been for a State Department official to look on ERM’s website? A call to the State Department elicited some “trust us” boilerplate…

The thing here is that ERM doesn’t just have ties to TransCanada, but relationships with something like 12 companies that stand to benefit from the Keystone and tar sands development.” Allowing that it may be difficult to find third parties in energy services that don’t have a relationship with a big company like TransCanada, Hayes notes that the issue comes down to disclosure—something sorely lacking, he says, in this process.  (Emphasis added.)

This article — a great primer on just how bad this whole TransCanada/Keystone fish really stinks to high heaven — also weighs in on the fact that even the State Department doesn’t know the exact route of the very pipeline project it’s supposed to review.

Which raises a final question: If no one can share the route, how can anyone approve it?

No sh–!


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