Conflicts of Interest in Keystone XL Approval Process?

EcoWatch: On Wednesday, “Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth submitted evidence to the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General to support the ongoing inquiry into conflicts of interest and mismanagement in the environmental review of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.”

Environmental groups contend that the review is flawed because it was completed by an oil industry consultant, Environmental Resources Management, “which was recommended to the agency by TransCanada, [and] performed services on the Alaska Pipeline Project, a joint project between Exxon and TransCanada. ERM also failed to disclose that at least 11 of its oil industry clients … stand to profit” from the project’s approval.

“Rather than conduct any independent conflict screening, the State Department simply accepted ERM’s disclosure at face value. The groups contend that this a violation of the State Department’s own protocol and the OIG’s recommendations from a similar 2012 investigation into the contractor in the first Keystone XL review.”

Bloomberg: “ERM wrote in the July 17 letter to the department that said media reports ‘grossly misinterpreted’ its relationship with TransCanada.”

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