Keystone pipeline report boosts supporters, deflates environmentalists
February 26th, 2014
08:58 PM ET
10 months ago

Keystone pipeline report boosts supporters, deflates environmentalists

Washington (CNN) - A new State Department report on the Keystone XL pipeline released Wednesday cheered advocates, who called for immediate approval, and dismayed environmentalists, who questioned it.

The Office of the Inspector General’s report essentially boosted a critical document in the debate - the State Department’s environmental review, which forecast that the project would have minimal environmental impact.  The inspector general dismissed complaints that the review was biased, finding it was handled properly, with standards sometimes “more rigorous” than required.

Environmental groups complained that some contractors who worked on the environmental study had also done work for TransCanada, the company which hopes to build the pipeline.

The inspector general found that the State Department should have disclosed more information about its contractors, but otherwise there is no evidence of bias or improper activity.

That means the environmental review, which is seen as more positive than negative for the pipeline, has cleared an important hurdle.

Conservatives and the oil industry quickly applauded.

“Another government report that finds no reason to continue blocking this commonsense, job-creating project,” wrote Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, in a statement.  “It’s long past time the president … just approve it.”

“Another report, another clean bill of health,” echoed House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-California, in a statement.

“After more than five years, all the excuses not to build Keystone XL have been exhausted,” said the American Petroleum Institute’s Cindy Schild.

But environmentalists saw the inspector general’s report as another sign of serious flaws in the review process.

The group Friends of the Earth, which raised some of the initial complaints, pointed to the methods used by the inspector general’s office in this latest report.

“Its conclusion that the agency followed its procedure seems to rest mainly on interviews with State Department lawyers who, the report points out, never documented all of the supposed due diligence they were conducting,” Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica said in a statement.

“In the meantime, President Obama has more than enough information to deny the pipeline, and we remain confident that he will do so,” Pica wrote.

This report is the last new federal document expected before a decision on Keystone.

The State Department’s environmental report is under a 90-day review that ends in May. At that point, Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to make a recommendation on the project to Obama.


Filed under: Energy • Environmental policy • State Department
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. rs

    What jobs? At best there are a few hundreds of jobs for construction, and a whole 54 permanent jobs after the pipeline is in place. Hardly a "job maker".
    What about Trans Canada's rather lackluster safety record- 25 major leaks in the past year. This is still the most abrasive and corrosive oil out there- and by any measure the dirtiest out there.
    What about the property rights of the people who own the land the pipeline crosses- do they not get a say in this? Many do not want a government "approved" pipeline put across their land? Isn't this precisely the sort of government intervene the GOP rails against? Or, is it because this directly builds the wealth of a couple of oil companies (the largest being Koch) that private landowners don't count?
    What about where the oil goes? It isn't going to get sold here. Oh, no, it will be refined here-polluting our air- and sold abroad. It does nothing for the US, and hence should not happen.

    February 26, 2014 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  2. Chris-E...al

    A dim would have you pay 1000 bucks a month power bill t0 the coke bro's ! And then they want to save you from them? Are you confused yet ? v0te repub an saue your life an soul .

    February 26, 2014 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  3. JJ Barry

    Transporting crude across land and waterways - not a problem?? We did so well with the other pipeline.... the environmental impact is a definite hit - it is obvious corporations and lobbyists have won again.

    February 26, 2014 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  4. J.V.Hodgson

    Go ahead approve it and when it leaks( which it inevitably will (( via some climate change freezing weather)) and) then pollutes the water table in two GOP run states thru which it crosses. The just as BP got hammered I say sue the governors of those states via class action.
    Obama should say to those states which the pipeline crosses, he wants state government approval of the risks and indemnity then he'll sign it off.
    = GOP put you money where you mouth is environmentally speaking.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    February 27, 2014 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  5. Tommy G

    Let's face it. There is no report these far left environmental zealots will accept. They are opposed to the pipeline for religious reasons, not logical or scientific reasons. These environmental Taliban want to enforce their environmental sharia on the rest of us. Time to move on with this project and end this nonsense. There is just no pleasing religious fanatics like them.

    February 27, 2014 03:43 am at 3:43 am |
  6. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    This sewage pipe needs to be run across Canada and not the USA and benifits nobody but the kochs and the oil companies and is for EXPORT ONLY. They should run it through the kochs yard.

    February 27, 2014 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  7. don in albuquerque

    OK so lets go ahead and let congress decide this by a vote in both houses. Then if anything untoward happens, or it does not create thousnds of long term good paying jobs, those who voted for it are automatically executed. Think it will pass?

    February 27, 2014 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  8. king

    i going to watch and see how these repubs jump ship if the president approve this no job getting bill. i looked out in the tropics and the heat is sucking up a lot of the waters in the oceans and sending up north to the polar regions and dumping the cold moisture on America. yet we still have those climate deniers out their want to push more of the heating up of our oceans and sucking and dumping it on us, either through north pole in devastating cold, or through the tropics in devastating hurricanes this year. may YAH help us all.

    February 27, 2014 08:27 am at 8:27 am |