Media coverage of the corrupt State Department review process

Media coverage of the corrupt State Department review process

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With the release of the second batch of documents, the filing of a lawsuit to stop illegal pipeline construction work in Nebraska and the expansion of our Freedom of Information Act request, there has been extensive media coverage of the pro-pipeline bias and oil industry complicity within the State Department. Highlights of coverage of the influence scandal and of the broader fight to stop Keystone XL can be found below.

November 16, 2011

Mother Jones: State Department: Any Nebraska-TransCanada Deal Still Requires Our Approval

There was some confusion on Tuesday after news from Nebraska indicated that the state and TransCanada had come to an agreement on rerouting the proposed Keystone XL pipeline around the environmentally sensitive sand hills region.

But even if Nebraska and TransCanada agree on a new route, it still has to go through the State Department.

November 15, 2011

Mother Jones: Keystone XL Delay Shows Climate Change Is a Big Election Issue

Conventional wisdom has it that the next election will be fought exclusively on the topic of jobs. But President Obama’s announcement last week that he would postpone a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline until after the 2012 election, which may effectively kill the project, makes it clear that other issues will weigh in—and that, oddly enough, one of them might even be climate change.

New York Times Green blog: On Our Radar: Rerouting the Keystone XL Pipeline

TransCanada agrees to find a new route for the Keystone XL pipeline that will skirt the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills area and the Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska. Still, the project cannot move forward anytime soon; a State Department spokesman says the federal government’s own review “could conclude as early as” the first quarter of 2013.

November 14, 2011

Toronto Sun: Redford to sell Keystone in Washington

Premier Alison Redford is extending her visit to Washington slightly as a result of the U.S. State Department’s decision to delay the $7 billion Keystone XL Pipeline project.

“The (itinerary) has been changing in light of what happened Thursday with the decision,” said Jay O’Neill, head of communications for the premier’s office.

Bloomberg: TransCanada to Change Keystone XL Route Through Nebraska

TransCanada Corp. (TRP) will move its $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline away from the state’s ecologically sensitive Sandhills region.

“The route will be changed, and Nebraskans will play an important role in determining the final route,” Alex Pourbaix, president for energy and oil pipelines, said in a statement today.

National Post (Canada): Alberta Premier backs off on Keystone XL, wants ‘sophisticated’ discussion

Still stinging from the Obama administration’s decision last week to delay the $7-billion project until 2013, Redford said it’s clear Albertans are being hurt by the province’s image in the U.S. as the Texas of the north.

Huffington Post: Keystone XL: Despite Delay, Oil’s Grip Remains Strong

When the State Department moved Thursday to postpone a decision on whether the Keystone XL oil pipeline serves the national interests of the United States — a question it has been weighing in one form or another for more than three years — environmental groups found much to celebrate.

But they also surely know that the dispute over Keystone XL — a proxy, really, for broader and still unresolved debates over oil, climate change and energy policy in America — is far from over, not least because the delay was much more about political expediency than it was about environmental due process.

November 13, 2011

Omaha World-Herald: Support for pipeline routing bill

Backers of legislation to give the state authority over routing oil pipelines could well prevail in the current special session.

A World-Herald survey of lawmakers found that proponents of legislation outnumber opponents and are approaching a majority in the Nebraska Legislature.

November 12, 2011

Lincoln Journal Star: Protests continue after Keystone XL delay

The federal government announced Thursday it would hold off on a final decision regarding the Keystone XL pipeline until after the 2012 election, allowing time to plot a course through Nebraska that doesn’t go through the Sandhills or over the Ogallala Aquifer.

Count Tom Weis unimpressed.

Huffington Post: What Keystone’s Supporters Get Wrong

The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial Friday on President Obama’s decision to delay the Keystone XL pipeline contains bad data and omits pertinent information that hurts its argument.

Since policy decisions need to be based on facts and not rhetoric to be successful, let’s go through these one by one.

November 11, 2011

Los Angeles Times: Keystone XL pipeline decision delayed until after 2012 election

The Obama administration put off until after the 2012 election a politically charged decision on whether to approve the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, easing one problem for President Obama but opening another with the missed opportunity to boost job growth.

With the State Department announcement Thursday that it would study alternate routes for the $7-billion pipeline, the administration sought to calm the environmentalist movement that has mobilized against the proposal — no small matter for Obama given activists’ threats that they might abandon his reelection campaign.

Financial Post: Keystone XL delay will cost TransCanada $1B: Analyst

The decision by the U.S. State Department on Thursday to explore alternate routes for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline will cost TransCanada Corp. dearly, in both time and money.

Steven Paget, analyst with First Energy Capital, estimates the project is now delayed 18 months, certainly past the next U.S. presidential election, and will cost TransCanada another $1-billion in capital.

NRDC Switchboard (BLOG): With Keystone XL Pipeline Stalled, America Can Focus on Real Energy Solutions that Create Real Jobs

On Thursday the State Department and the President announced they will conduct a new review of the Keystone XL pipeline. More time is needed to examine the pipeline’s impact on water, our climate, our health and safety.  Congratulations Mr. President! As NRDC’s Frances Beinecke wrote on her blog yesterday, this is a major victory for clean energy and citizen action.

We’ll surely here shouts from the oil industry that this decision will hurt jobs.  They claim the pipeline could have created up to 20,000 temporary (that’s the key word) jobs. (The State Department says that number is more like 5,000 to 6,000 jobs.)  Let’s remember that either way, those figures pale by comparison to the number of jobs that have already been created by the clean car industry alone. More than 150,000 Americans are now working to build cleaner cars, thanks to strong new fuel economy standards.

November 10, 2011

St.Louis Post-Dispatch: Keystone XL pipeline may be rerouted

The State Department is considering a plan that would reroute the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada away from environmentally sensitive areas of Nebraska, an action that could delay a final decision on the project until after the 2012 election.

Huffington Post: Keystone XL Delayed, Feds To Explore New Routes

Federal officials postponed a crucial permitting decision for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline Thursday afternoon, issuing plans to consider a new route for the project. The pipeline was proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada to link a vast oil patch in Alberta to refineries in Texas. The additional review would not likely be concluded until the early months of 2013, Obama administration officials said, adding that they would, among other things, weigh the impacts of the pipeline on the global climate in making a final decision of whether it is in the national interest.

Bloomberg: Enbridge’s Pipeline Threatens TransCanada’s Keystone XL Plan

Enbridge Inc. (ENB)’s plan for a pipeline to carry oil-sands crude from Canada to the Texas Coast may reduce TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s chances of building its $7 billion Keystone XL line.

The U.S. State Department is weighing whether to ask TransCanada to seek a new route for its 1,661-mile (2,673- kilometer) pipeline that would avoid environmentally sensitive areas in Nebraska.

November 9, 2011

Washington Post: Proposed Keystone pipeline route may be reassessed

The Obama administration may reassess the proposed route for a major oil pipeline that would stretch from northern Canada to the Gulf Coast, according to sources familiar with the deliberations, a move that could delay the contentious permitting process for more than a year.

The State Department has identified a route that traverses six states — and runs above Nebraska’s Ogallala aquifer — as its “preferred alternative,” among more than a dozen possibilities. But opposition has mounted in Nebraska and elsewhere along that path. The Nebraska legislature is in special session to consider options for influencing the pipeline’s route.

Reuters: State Dept eyes rerouting Keystone XL pipeline

The State Department is considering rerouting TransCanada Corp.’s proposed $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline to avoid ecologically sensitive areas of Nebraska, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.

The State Department has been weighing issues raised in public meetings and talks with officials in six states that would be affected “including whether to consider a rerouting of the Keystone XL pipeline away from an environmentally delicate area of Nebraska,” the official said.

FOX News: Obama Administration May Put Off Keystone Pipeline Decision With New Environmental Impact Study

A State Department decision on whether to reroute a TransCanadian pipeline could end up killing the $7 billion project altogether, an energy industry source warned Wednesday.

The source told Fox News that the Obama administration is considering much more than a simple reroute of the Keystone XL project. Instead, 11th hour deliberations are weighing whether to order the State Department to conduct an all-new Environmental Impact Study, which could delay a final decision by two years, well beyond the next presidential election, if not end it altogether.

CNN International: State Department evaluating options for controversial pipeline

The State Department is considering a variety of options on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, including an alternative route or even not granting permission for the pipeline to be built.

The department, as part of its “national determination period” of the review process, is considering all proposals that were made at public hearings held across the country, deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Wednesday.

New York Times Green blog: Keystone XL’s Cousin Shuts Down Twice

The company proposing a controversial oil pipeline that would stretch from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast had a related pipeline that it operates shut down over the last two days after the line suffered power problems.

The company, TransCanada, said that its Keystone pipeline, which runs from Alberta to Cushing, Okla., went down for three hours on Tuesday after a Canadian utility that powers the pipeline dealt with shortages. TransCanada voluntarily shut Keystone down a second time on Tuesday night to inspect equipment, but restarted it on Wednesday morning after finding nothing amiss.

November 8, 2011

FOX Business: TransCanada CEO: Keystone XL Customers May Move On If Project Delayed

TransCanada Corp. (TRP) Chief Executive Russ Girling said Tuesday that potential customers for the controversial Keystone XL Canadian oil pipeline may abandon the project if its approval is delayed further by the U.S. government.

November 7, 2011

New York Times: Keystone XL Pipeline Decision to Be Investigated

The State Department’s inspector general will conduct a special investigation of the handling of the pending decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in response to reports of improper pressure on policy makers and possible conflicts of interest, according to documents released on Monday.

Harold W. Geisel, the senior official in the inspector general’s office, told top agency officials in a memorandum dated Friday that he would open the review “to determine to what extent the department and all other parties involved complied with federal laws and regulations” relating to the pipeline permit process.

Daily Kos: Breaking: Has Keystone XL hit a roadblock?

Today, the day after some 13,000 people surrounded the White House to call on President Obama to apply leadership in denying the Keystone XL pipeline application (excellent Inside Climate News article), Politico broke the news that the State Department’s Inspector General will conduct an investigation into State’s handling of the Keystone XL pipeline application. Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN-9), who has been a real leader on this issue, issued a press release along with State’s memo to him.

Business Insider: Attorney For Opponents Of Keystone XL Says Nebraska Would Win If Sued For Rerouting Pipeline

Nebraska’s sovereign immunity would protect the state from costly lawsuits if officials diverted a crude oil pipeline away from the ecologically sensitive Sandhills, a leading project opponent said Monday.

Alan Peterson, an attorney for the Sierra Club’s Nebraska Chapter, told lawmakers that even if the state waived its immunity to a lawsuit and lost, pipeline developers could not likely recover more than the cost of right-of-way easements obtained from landowners after their project received federal approval. 

Los Angeles Times: Boxer raises environmental concerns over Keystone XL pipeline

In a sign of hardening skepticism toward the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a top Senate Democrat has sent a letter to the Obama administration asking about a possible conflict of interest between the pipeline operator and a company handling the environmental impact study of the project.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton last week cautioning that the environmental studies must be impartial.

November 6, 2011

Washington Post: Thousands protest outside White House over planned Keystone XL oil pipeline

Thousands of protesters gathered in Lafayette Square across from the White House on Sunday to oppose a plan for a transnational oil pipeline they fear could harm the environment.

At one point, the crowd linked hands to surround the White House, keeping up pressure on President Barack Obama as his administration decides whether to approve the massive Keystone XL project.

November 5, 2011

Washington Post: Keystone Pipeline debate heats up

Canadian ambassador Gary Doer has a straightforward analysis of whether TransCanada will win the Obama administration’s approval to build and operate an enormous pipeline to transport oil from Alberta to the Texas coast.

“If it’s made on merit, we’re confident,” Doer said in an interview. “If it’s made on noise, it’s unpredictable.”

Care2: TransCanada Admits It Lied About Keystone XL Jobs

Proponents of the Keystone XL–an oil pipeline that would cut a swath across dozens of rivers, streams, and America’s largest source of fresh water–claim that the number of domestic jobs created by the project offset its immense environmental risks.

But in a recent report by the Washington Post, the company behind the Keystone XL admitted that it intentionally inflated estimates of the number of American jobs the pipeline would create.

Omaha World-Herald: Pipeline hearings to be emotional

Expect lengthy and emotional testimony on Monday when the public and lobbyists get to weigh in on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

The final schedule of public hearings on bills introduced during the special session of the Nebraska Legislature was released Friday after lawmakers met briefly at the State Capitol.

November 4, 2011

Grist: Keystone XL backers try to get OWS on their side

Climate leaders like Bill McKibben have visited Occupy Wall Street and put out the message that the movement should oppose the Keystone XL pipeline. But proponents of Keystone XL are also trying to use OWS to press their case. David Dayen caught this bit of politicking on a website called Jobs for the 99%.

ThinkProgress: Fact Check: Keystone XL Will Not Reduce Oil Imports From Middle East

The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will not reduce dependence on imports from the Middle East, an analysis conducted for the Department of Energy revealed a year ago. The hope of getting away from oil from the volatile region is a favored talking point by proponents. “The Keystone project has the potential to significantly reduce oil imports from the Middle East,” Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) has claimed. However, an analysis by Department of Energy contractor Ensys Energy in December 2010 found that the pipeline would have virtually no impact on Middle East imports

The Guardian: Q&A: Keystone XL oil pipeline

The Keystone XL project would expand an existing pipeline from the vast tar sands of Alberta to refineries in the US Midwest, nearly doubling the initial capacity and transporting crude oil deeper into America to refineries on the Gulf coast of Texas. Its proposed route would stretch about 1,660 miles, connecting Hardisty, Alberta to Port Arthur, Texas. It was first proposed in 2008, and was originally scheduled for completion in 2013.

November 3, 2011

Huffington Post: Keystone XL: Haste And Inexperience Hampered State Department’s Environmental Review

Earlier this year, top officials with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and the Department of Justice hauled a handful of senior State Department officials into a White House meeting.

The gathering was the governmental equivalent of being called into the principal’s office. The energy regulators wanted to know why State — which had the power to approve a controversial oil pipeline project called Keystone XL — hadn’t demanded the completion of an important task: the evaluation of alternative pipeline routes between Canada and the Gulf Coast that would avoid the Nebraska sand hills, a hotbed of environmental concern and local outrage.

November 2, 2011

Washington Post: Pipeline developer says Keystone XL oil pipeline delays could cost company $1 million a day

A Canadian pipeline developer that wants to run an oil line through six states to Texas refineries would lose at least $1 million a day and suffer “substantial economic harm” if opponents delay or derail the project, a top executive said in response to a federal lawsuit.

Robert Jones, a TransCanada vice president who is overseeing the hotly contested Keystone XL pipeline project, said in a sworn statement that delays would saddle the company with unavoidable expenses — such as for pre-ordered construction equipment — and damage its relationship with shippers.

November 1, 2011

Politico: Obama: I’ll make the call on Keystone XL project

President Barack Obama indicated Tuesday he’ll be making the final call on the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline that would run from Alberta to Texas.

In an interview with Omaha, Neb., station KETV, Obama said the State Department — which was expected to make the decision on the pipeline — will instead deliver recommendations to the White House on the proposal.

Huffington Post: Obama: Keystone XL Pipeline Decision Will Be Made With Health, Economic Factors Taken Into Account

President Barack Obama said Tuesday health and economic factors would be taken into account when he decides whether to approve TransCanada Corp’s Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline proposal.

Speaking in a television interview, Obama said the State Department would give him a report on the issue “over the next several months.”

InsideClimate News: Public Comments on Keystone Pipeline Have Disappeared into a Procedural Black Hole

Five weeks ago, Cindy Myers stood in a high school gymnasium before a crowd of 1,000 and said, “These words could be some of the most important of my life.”

Myers was speaking at the Keystone XL oil pipeline hearing in Atkinson, Neb., but her statement could have applied to any of the thousands of people who attended hearings in five other states. Many took a day off work to get in line early; others drove for hours to reach the meetings or spent weeks polishing their testimony. They spoke with passion about jobs and energy security, their fears of water contamination and the risk of an oil spill.

The Guardian: Keystone XL pipeline debate moves to Nebraska as final decision looms

The state of Nebraska will open a special session of the legislature on Tuesday afternoon in a last-gasp effort to stop or re-route the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project.

October 31, 2011

Tar Sands Action: Industry Sources Admit Keystone XL Key to Tar Sands Development

Yesterday we got some of the strongest confirmation yet that efforts to stop the Keystone XL pipeline are having a long-term impact on the tar sands industry. It’s clearer than ever that President Obama’s decision on the  pipeline will have a critical impact on the development of the tar sands in Alberta – potentially leading to “stranded oil sands” long term.

The Colorado Independent: The Wizards of Oil: How the Koch brothers influence environmental politics

The nation’s second largest private company and its subsidiaries are also in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas and just about every other state in the nation. But the locale where Koch Industries is making its presence felt the most isn’t a state at all. It’s Washington, D.C.

October 30, 2011

New York Times: Nebraska Seeks a Say on the Route of a Pipeline

With a federal decision anticipated soon on whether an oil pipeline will be allowed to run from Canada through the nation’s midsection, lawmakers in Nebraska are being summoned on Tuesday to an unexpected legislative session over the issue, which has stirred up a level of rancor that few had predicted.

“The public outcry has just continued to get louder and louder, stronger and stronger,” said Annette Dubas, a state senator who is among those who want to consider how Nebraska might regulate such projects, but who seemed as surprised as anyone last week when Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican, called legislators in to a special session on the issue.

October 28, 2011

Bloomberg BusinessWeek: Environmental Groups Seek Probe of Keystone XL Pipeline Review

U.S. environmental groups called on the State Department’s inspector general to investigate what they called “illegality and/or abuse of authority” in the department’s review of TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline.

ThinkProgress: Promoting Tar Sands Myths, CNN’s Steve Hargreaves Bets Keystone XL Pipeline Will Be Approved

After months and even years of grassroots protests against the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, national media are starting to take notice. CNN’s Randi Kaye featured the controversial pipeline as an “undercovered” story, in a segment with’s Steve Hargreaves. Hargreaves portrayed the battle over the foreign pipeline as one of “hopes for the economy” versus “fears for the environment.” Tar sands crude is “a little bit dirtier” than conventional oil, Hargreaves conceded, but he said that the economic benefits of building a pipeline to pump tar sands crude from Canada to Texas refineries will win out. Green donors warn Obama: ‘Do the right thing’ on Keystone pipeline

They’re rich, powerful and P.O.’d.

One of them is BFF with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

And they’re putting President Obama on notice: stop the Keystone XL oil pipeline or else. Or else what? Well it depends on who you ask.

October 27, 2011

The Hill: EPA chief: Keystone pipeline comments almost done, Obama ‘very aware’ of greens’ concerns

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said Thursday that her agency is about to weigh in on the State Department’s environmental analysis of the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

The upcoming comments on State’s August environmental impact statement – which gave the pipeline a favorable review – will be closely watched as the Obama administration decision on whether to permit the project looms. EPA has criticized past State analysis.

October 26, 2011

New York Times Green Blog: Lawmakers Seek Inquiry on Keystone XL Process

Lawmakers have called on the State Department’s inspector general to investigate the department’s handling of a crucial environmental study on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and urged President Obama to delay a decision on the project until the report is completed.

In a letter sent on Wednesday to Harold W. Geisel, the State Department’s deputy inspector general, 14 members of Congress asked the department to look into the relationship between the pipeline company, TransCanada, and the firm that conducted the study.

Reuters: Lawmakers ask Obama to delay Keystone decision

Fourteen lawmakers called on President Barack Obama to delay a decision on the Canada-to-Texas Keystone oil sands pipeline, while Obama was interrupted in Denver on Wednesday by a protester opposing TransCanada Corp’s project.

Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who is one of the Senate’s most liberal members, and Democratic Representative Steve Cohen were joined by 12 other congressional Democrats in asking for a delay until the State Department investigates alleged conflicts of interest over the project.

Huffington Post: Keystone XL Pipeline: Obama Says His Administration Has Made No Decision On Project

President Barack Obama said Wednesday his administration has made no decision on whether a Canadian company can proceed with plans for a transnational oil pipeline to Texas.

A protester during Obama’s appearance at the University of Colorado Denver yelled out that the president should say no to the contested Keystone XL project.

Omaha World-Herald: Pipeline routing law called doable

A prominent attorney advising Nebraska state senators said Tuesday that legislators can craft a law that influences routing of crude-oil pipelines without risking an expensive legal defeat.

October 25, 2011

Politico: On Keystone XL Pipeline, Democrats slow to probe

Critics of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline think they’ve uncovered a conflict-of-interest scandal that will shake the halls of Congress.

They just can’t get top Senate Democrats to help them do it.

USA Today: Protesters greet Obama in San Francisco

Hundreds of protesters, including opponents of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and activists associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement, rallied outside President Obama’s fundraiser in San Francisco today.

DeSmog Blog: TransCanada Spent $540,000 Lobbying in Third Quarter For Keystone XL Pipeline

TransCanada Corp, the company hoping to build the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, spent $540,000 on lobbying in the third quarter of 2011, according to lobbying disclosure records released this week.

In addition to $390,000 reported by Paul Elliott, TransCanada Pipelines, Ltd’s infamous in-house lobbyist, two outside firms lobbied on TransCanada’s behalf to promote the Keystone XL pipeline: Bryan Cave LLP, which reported $120,000 in earnings from TransCanda in quarter three; and McKenna, Long & Aldridge, which was paid $30,000 by TransCanada in the same period.

October 24, 2011

KETV News: Heineman Calls Special Session To Address Pipeline

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman says he’ll call a special legislative session for lawmakers to consider challenging the planned route of a massive transnational oil pipeline.

The Republican governor’s Monday decision means Nebraska doesn’t intend to just leave the matter to the federal government, which is expected to decide whether to approve the $7 billion Keystone XL Pipeline project by year’s end.

Politico: Greens: Obama campaign hire ‘stinks’

Environmentalists are unhappy with President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign for hiring a former lobbyist for the Keystone XL pipeline as a senior adviser.

Broderick Johnson, a Washington lawyer and lobbyist, is joining the campaign as a senior adviser and member of the senior staff.

The Hill: New Obama campaign adviser lobbied for Keystone pipeline

President Obama’s new senior campaign adviser lobbied late last year for TransCanada Corp., the company seeking to build the controversial Keystone XL oil sands pipeline — a relationship that’s feeding environmentalists’ claims that the White House is too close to the project’s developer.

October 21, 2011

Politico: Harry Reid: Renewables ‘wiser’ than Keystone

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton he has “serious concern” about TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

Reid — in an Oct. 5 letter to Clinton first reported on by The Washington Post — weighs in on the pipeline project for the first time and gives critics more ammunition from Capitol Hill in their battle to get the State Department to deny a permit for the project.

York (Neb.) News-Times: TransCanada 1, Nebraska 0. Game over?

It’s practically official. Nebraska quits and plays dead before the game is over. TransCanada 1, Nebraska 0. Game over!

It seems the big bad foreign-owned corporation TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline folks scared the little ol’ Nebraska State Legislature by threatening a lawsuit if we don’t stop pestering this oil transportation company who wants to slice us open from stem to stern so they can pump hot pressurized DilBit tar-sand oil over our precious Ogallala Aquifer.

Lincoln Journal-Star: Time to take names on pipeline

While legislative leaders slumbered at the switch, TransCanada openly began preliminary work to bury a pipeline across Nebraska’s Sandhills.

Belatedly, those leaders stirred themselves into a brief spasm of activity this month that resulted in promises of more protection from TransCanada.

That’s not enough.

October 20, 2011

The Hill: OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senators weigh Keystone pipeline strategy

Senators battling the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline are mulling their options as the Obama administration’s decision on the controversial project looms.

Critics of the proposed $7 billion, 1,700-mile pipeline say the State Department’s favorable environmental analysis was flawed, and that the review lacked integrity because it was performed by a company with financial ties to pipeline developer TransCanada.

October 19, 2011

The Washington Post:Democratic lawmakers pressure Obama administration on both sides of Keystone pipeline issue

Democratic lawmakers, split over whether to support a massive oil pipeline crossing the U.S.-Canada border, continue to lobby the Obama administration on both sides of the question.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Oct. 5, saying he had “serious concern” about allowing TransCanada to construct and operate a 1,700-mile-long pipeline between Hardisty, Alberta, and Port Arthur, Tex.

Politico: Sanders, State Dept. meeting on pipeline allegations

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is meeting with the State Department on Wednesday amid conflict of interest allegations regarding the department’s environmental review of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

The concerns arose from a New York Times article on the department’s selection of Cardno Entrix to handle the environmental review of the pipeline. Cardno Entrix has listed TransCanada as a “major client,” the Times reported.

ThinkProgress: Koch’s Keystone XL Connection

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) has renewed his request that the House Committee on Energy and Commerce investigate the role of Koch Industries in the Keystone XL pipeline.

Inside Climate News: EPA to Weigh In on State Dept’s Contentious Keystone Review Any Day Now

Any day now, the EPA will be weighing in with an analysis of the State Department’s final environmental evaluation of the controversial oil sands Keystone XL pipeline. Hillary’s legacy rests on fixing tainted pipeline approval process

Pretty much everyone has had to admit that she’s been a creditable secretary of state; she spent yesterday in Tripoli where rebels-turned-rulers fired guns in her honor. Last year, a Gallup poll found she was the most admired woman in the United States.

That’s why it’s particularly painful to see her nearing the end of her career as our top diplomat with a scandal looming. It’s not too late for her to nip it in the bud, and if she doesn’t President Obama can still put a stop to it, as well. But right now, it threatens to tarnish her legacy.

ThinkProgress: October 19 News: 36 Lawmakers Berate State Dept, Calling it a “Cheerleader” For Keystone XL Pipeline

With a decision expected by the end of the year from the Obama administration on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, members of Congress have sent two letters to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raising concerns over the State Department’s handling of a critical environmental review of the project.

October 18, 2011

The New York Times: Eminent Domain Fight Has a Canadian Twist

A Canadian company has been threatening to confiscate private land from South Dakota to the Gulf of Mexico, and is already suing many who have refused to allow the Keystone XL pipeline on their property even though the controversial project has yet to receive federal approval.

Bloomberg Businessweek: New safeguards proposed for Keystone XL in Neb.

A pipeline operator that wants to run a controversial oil line from Canada to Texas offered new safeguards Tuesday it said would limit the effect of a potential spill in Nebraska.

But a TransCanada executive maintained that the company cannot move its proposed route through the Nebraska Sandhills, despite opposition from environmentalists, some lawmakers and landowners, and the governor. Opposition to Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Continues to Grow

Susan Luebbe’s testimony at last week’s State Department hearing on TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline was very moving. We’d already heard from college students, a union representative, environmental organization leaders (including me), and more – but to hear testimony from a land-owner in the path of this destructive and dangerous pipeline was eye-opening to those in attendance.

October 17, 2011

The New York Times: Stop the Keystone XL (VIDEO)

Robert Redford urges President Obama to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, which would deliver crude oil from Canada through the American heartland to refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas.

Engineering News-Record: Cardno Entrix Pipeline Review Contract Raises Sticky Ethics Issues for Engineers

Even if it met the minimum standard for ethical conduct, the State Dept.’s environmental consultant for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, Cardno Entrix, should have refrained from taking the job in order to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, says an expert on engineering ethics and environmental work.

“It’s got to be above suspicion of doing something sneaky,” says Aarne Vesilind, former professor of engineering at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pa., and the author of books on engineering ethics.

Al Jazeera English: The Pipeline of “Poison”

Deb Miller lives less than 30 metres from the Kalamazoo River in central Michigan, site of one of the largest inland tar sands oil disasters in US history.

In July 2010, nearly four million litres of toxic tar sands crude oil gushed into the river following the rupture of the Lakehead Pipeline 6B belonging to Enbridge Energy Partners, a Canadian oil and gas transportation company.

October 16, 2011

Omaha World-Herald: Pipeline warning dismissed

When a university professor with expertise in hazardous waste sounds alarms about a proposed oil pipeline in Nebraska, the federal agency overseeing the project should pay attention.

That’s the view of State Sen. Ken Haar of Malcolm, who questions whether the U.S. State Department has ignored a warning that the Keystone XL pipeline could pollute Nebraska groundwater much worse than predicted.

October 14, 2011

Inside Climate News: Enviros Make Keystone XL a Litmus Test for Obama’s Re-Election: Will it Work?

To hard-core environmentalists, the Obama administration’s upcoming decision on the fiercely debated Keystone XL oil sands pipeline is black and white. Say no to the Canada-to-Gulf Coast pipeline, they insist, or they won’t support Obama’s re-election bid.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Slippery pipeline: The Keystone XL project deserves closer scrutiny

The question of whether the United States should permit the construction of a 1,700-mile pipeline across the middle of the country to permit the transport of crude oil from Canada to Texas is complicated enough already.

Now it appears that the State Department, the government body which will make the decision since it is an international matter, has also introduced lobbying and potential conflict-of-interest elements into the process. We believe that compromises the department’s integrity.

October 13, 2011

Reuters: Lawmakers say pipeline approval process tainted

U.S. lawmakers will urge Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday to reject the proposed route of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, saying they are concerned the approval process has been tainted by alleged conflicts of interest.

Representative Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat, will send a letter to Clinton, signed by more than 20 other lawmakers in the House, criticizing how her department has handled the review of TransCanada Corp’s $7 billion pipeline proposal to move crude to Texas from Alberta, Canada. Financial Times: Tar Sands a “PR Nightmare”

Canada’s dirty tar sands oil reserves have been turned “into a public-relations nightmare” argues the Financial Times today in its eight page pull-out on Canadian energy, forcing the industry to fight back against this “toxic perception”.

Part of this nightmare for both the industry and now President Obama is to do with the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which has become a litmus test for the Obama Administration.

October 12, 2011

The Nation: Solyndra and Keystone: Not All Environmental Scandals Are Created Equal

This unseasonably warm and unexpectedly lively autumn, the Obama administration finds itself embroiled in two environmental scandals. One, involving run-of-the-mill cronyism and bureaucratic ineptitude, we’ve been hearing about endlessly. The other, in which cronyism on a grand scale is imperiling the planet, is being swept under the rug.

October 11, 2011

The Associated Press: AP Interview: Clinton vows fair review on pipeline

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday she has “no reason to believe” that the State Department is biased in favor of a Canadian company’s plan to build a massive oil pipeline from western Canada to the Gulf Coast, as some critics charge.

Winnipeg Free Press: U.S. officials reviewing Keystone XL pipeline ‘open-minded’: Clinton

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says her department does not have a pro-pipeline bias as it determines whether to give the green light to TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL project.

“I have no reason to believe” that State Department officials are in favour of the pipeline, Clinton said in an editorial roundtable at The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Omaha World-Herald: TransCanada not budging on route

The speaker of the Nebraska Legislature will return to the lawbooks to consider the state’s options after the developer of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday again delivered an emphatic “no” to pleas to reroute the project.

National Journal: Obama Himself Could Render Keystone XL Pipeline Decision

The fate of a controversial oil sands pipeline could fall directly at President Obama’s doorstep.

Under federal law, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton currently has the responsibility of deciding whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which if approved would send 700,000 barrels of carbon-heavy oil sands a day from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Texas. But if the project doesn’t receive unanimous support from eight other federal agencies, the president must issue the decision.

October 10, 2011

C-SPAN: US-Canada Pipeline

Cindy Schild and Damon Moglen talked about the proposed U.S.-Canada pipeline, and they responded to telephone calls and electronic communications. … Topics included the pipeline’s impact on jobs, the economy, and the environment.

FOX News: Debate over Keystone XL Pipeline (VIDEO)

PBS News Hour: Environment, Economy at Heart of Keystone XL Pipeline Debate (VIDEO)

A Canadian company wants to build a $13 billion, 1,700-mile pipeline to carry crude oil from the so-called tar sands region in Alberta through six states and a major aquifer to Texas for refining. Correspondent Tom Bearden reports from Nebraska on the high-stakes environmental and economic battle over the Keystone XL project.

October 9, 2011

CNN: Keystone Pipeline fight (VIDEO)

CNN’s Jill Dougherty reports on the pipeline controversy that has included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

October 8, 2011

The New York Times: Pipeline Review Is Faced With Question of Conflict

The State Department assigned an important environmental impact study of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to a company with financial ties to the pipeline operator, flouting the intent of a federal law meant to ensure an impartial environmental analysis of major projects.

The department allowed TransCanada, the company seeking permission to build the 1,700-mile pipeline from the oil sands of northern Alberta to the Gulf Coast in Texas, to solicit and screen bids for the environmental study. At TransCanada’s recommendation, the department hired Cardno Entrix, an environmental contractor based in Houston, even though it had previously worked on projects with TransCanada and describes the pipeline company as a “major client” in its marketing materials.

October 7, 2011

The Washington Post: Keystone XL pipeline becomes a political headache for White House

The question of how best to handle the federal permit for the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline extension — which will transport crude oil 1,700 miles from Alberta to Texas — has evolved from a backwater process at the State Department to a high-profile political headache for the Obama administration.

Until recently, it appeared

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