Tucson, Ariz. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, who has led the fight for greater transparency on conflicts of interest in the Keystone XL approval process, released the following comment in response to the newly announced State Department Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) essentially granting final approval to the pipeline. You can read more about Grijalva’s ongoing efforts, especially on corporate conflicts of interest disclosure, at http://bit.ly/1iVaNa5 and http://huff.to/1eeusjj.
“This process has featured multiple documented conflicts of interest, corporate failure to disclose relevant business ties, and a State Department more interested in greasing the skids than doing due diligence. We thought we’d seen the last of this in the George W. Bush era, when profits came before science and wealthy corporate interests called all the shots.
“When the State Department was looking for a company to write the SEIS, TransCanada recommended its own environmental contractor without disclosing its existing relationship to the administration or anyone else. That’s already well established. The question was what the State Department would do about it. The answer, apparently, is to release the SEIS as though nothing had happened. Its own Inspector General is weeks away from publishing a report on the issue. The State Department, if only to maintain its own credibility, should have waited at least that long.
“This document will be seen by the entire environmental community – in which I certainly include myself – as a sham. The fact that the Canadian government and the oil industry were reportedly briefed on today’s news before Congress was given the courtesy of a heads-up speaks volumes. It encourages the already widely held impression that the fix was in from the beginning. If the administration expects to avoid the lasting stink of having ignored every red flag in the book, it needs to explain itself.
“The State Department is asking us to believe this pipeline is in the national interest. How can a pipeline that ships Canadian tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico for export, that does nothing to increase our energy independence, and that will deal irreparable damage both to our landscapes and our air quality possibly meet that definition? Besides the corporations involved, this project isn’t in anyone’s interest. It’s a bad deal pumped up by well-connected lobbyists, and at the end of the day I believe many people involved in this decision know it.
“The only way to approve Keystone XL is to ignore the multiple lies TransCanada told the State Department in its application. I’m sorry to see the State Department is comfortable with that. There’s a difference between having enough political cover to make something happen and being able to look the American people in the eye to justify a decision. This project shouldn’t have any cover at all, and it certainly doesn’t pass the look-you-in-the-eye test.
“The public now has-----
90[apparently only 30] days to comment on the environmental damage the project itself and tar sands generally will do to the environment. The scientific verdict is already in. The only way for it to matter now is for everyone to make his or her voice heard as loudly as possible. I intend to do that, and I invite the American people to join me.” (emphasis and correction mine)
From the US State Department website:
A 30-day public comment period begins on February 5, 2014 and will close on March 7, 2014. During this period, members of the public and other interested parties are encouraged to submit comments on the national interest determination to http://www.regulations.gov. Comments are not private and will be made public.