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Noem, Thune, Johnson Silent on State Department Favoritism Toward Keystone XL

Last updated on 2012.11.29

Earlier this month, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton protesting her department's clear favoritism toward TransCanada in its biased and inadequate environmental impact study on the Keystone XL pipeline. More than 20 fellow House members have signed Rep. Blumenauer's letter. Yet our Republican Congresswoman Kristi Noem remains silent on the Obama Administration's grave errors on Keystone XL.

Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) are calling on Secretary Clinton to throw out its tainted Keystone XL review and "conduct a new and objective environmental review so the government and the public can fully and fairly evaluate the impacts associated with the proposed Keystone XL pipeline." South Dakota's Senators, Republican John Thune and Democrat Tim Johnson, have yet to find the courage to challenge the State Department's cronyism on this issue.

At worst, Keystone XL is not in South Dakota's or America's interest. At best, we have no objective picture of the costs and benefits of the pipeline, because the State Department has failed to fulfill its duty to impartially evaluate the costs and benefits of Keystone XL. Congresswoman Noem, Senator Thune, and Senator Johnson, you have a duty to hold the executive branch accountable and demand that the State Department perform a new, fair environmental assessment of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Related Reading:

  • Senator Sanders cites the probing Oct. 7 Rosenthal-Frosch New York Times article on the conflict of interest State created in having major TransCanada contractor Cardno Entrix conduct the Keystone XL environmental review. Rosenthal and Frosch note that cleaning up the Enbridge Kalamazoo tar sands oil pipeline spill has cost voer $500 million so far. Proposed pipeline taxes to ensure funding for response to oil spills on the Keystone I and Keystone XL routes have capped clean-up funds at $30 million.
  • Last week I mentioned photos posted by the Center for Biological Diversity showing long strips of land that TransCanada has mowed along the Keystone XL route in Nebraska. Apparently State and U.S. Fish and Wildlife gave TransCanada permission to mow those strips and remove endangered beetles. TransCanada began this work in August, before the final public comment period on the environmental impact study had even gotten rolling. That's why the Center for Biological Diversity, Western Nebraska Resources Council, and Friends of the Earth are suing the government.


  1. Stan Gibilisco 2011.10.15

    They are more concerned about jobs than about the environment. I suspect most South Dakotans would take the same view -- until the first catastrophe.

  2. Kelly Fuller 2011.10.16

    Interesting thing about the beetles - their presence was the justification for moving a proposed South Dakota wind energy facility to another site that is worse for migratory birds. There was no talk of moving beetles then.

  3. LK 2011.10.19

    From, this pipeline could tarnish Clinton's legacy

    "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.

    Here’s how the story goes: The TransCanada corporation wants to build an oil pipeline from the tar sands of Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico. Because it crosses our border, they need a “presidential certificate of national interest,” and that can only come on the advice of the State Department, which has been carrying out a theoretically independent review process.

    "But even before the review process got underway, Clinton said she was “inclined” to grant the permit. Perhaps that’s because her former deputy campaign manager, Paul Elliott, had been hired as TransCanada’s chief lobbyist. (Emails unearthed by Friends of the Earth show that State Department staff were rooting hard for him — “Go Paul,” is how one of them put it, when he spread the news to this supposedly independent staffer that he’d managed to bring U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., onboard as a pipeline supporter). Perhaps it’s because a whole web of lobbying firms have the same kind of overlapping ties. Employees of McKenna, Long and Aldridge, for instance, donated $41,000 to Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, and collected at least $190,000 from TransCanada for lobbying. Or DLA Piper, whose employees were the single largest corporate source of funds for her presidential bid, and whose partner, James Blanchard, was both a big-money bundler for the campaign and a highly-paid lobbyist for the province of Alberta’s pro-pipeline effort."

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