Updates: news releases and updates

Obama delays Keystone XL review

Posted Nov. 10, 2011 / Posted by: Nick Berning

For Immediate Release

Contact:

Kelly Trout, 202-222-0722, ktrout@foe.org; Nick Berning, 202-222-0748, nberning@foe.org

Obama administration delays, explores reroute of and plans new review of Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- The Obama administration announced today that it will delay its review of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline to explore a new route and conduct a new environmental impacts analysis.

The announcement comes as President Obama faces escalating grassroots pressure to reject the pipeline from a broad coalition that includes climate, property rights, environmental justice and indigenous community activists. The administration has also come under withering criticism after Friends of the Earth and allied groups obtained documents via the Freedom of Information Act that indicate department officials allowed bias, lobbyist influence and conflicts of interest to corrupt the review process, resulting in an environmental impacts assessment that independent experts said was deeply flawed.

Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica had the following response to today’s news:

“By rejecting TransCanada’s plan and exploring a reroute, the Obama administration has essentially hit the reset button on the Keystone XL environmental review process. This is a major accomplishment for the climate movement and the people in the pipeline’s path, demonstrating the tremendous power of hopeful, committed and ambitious grassroots activism. Hopefully today’s announcement will halt TransCanada’s pursuit of this pipeline.

“President Obama deserves credit for rejecting a defective environmental impacts analysis that was corrupted by bias, lobbyist influence and conflicts of interest. The announcement today is an affirmation of the fact that the analysis, produced by the State Department and its contractor Cardno Entrix, grossly understated the damage likely to be caused by this pipeline. One glaring error was its failure to account for tar sands oil production’s devastating impacts on our climate.

“It is now incumbent on the Obama administration to ensure that a fair, impartial review of the pipeline’s impacts is conducted. This means that the EPA should lead in reviewing potential environmental and public health impacts and that the contractor Cardno Entrix must play no futher role. A decision about further involvement of the State Department should await completion of the Inspector General’s investigation into wrongdoing. The new environmental review must take into account the true impacts the pipeline would have on our climate and air and water.

“Make no mistake: this fight is not over. Ultimately, this dangerous pipeline must not be built. As long as TransCanada and its army of oil lobbyists seek approval, we will challenge them at every turn. And we will continue to hold President Obama accountable to his campaign promises to curb lobbyist influence and provide bold leadership on climate change. Given the International Energy Agency’s warning this week that unless we change course climate change will become irreversible within five years, bold leadership is needed more urgently than ever. President Obama can no longer afford to dither, and we can no longer afford to let him do so.”

For more information about the proposed pipeline, visit: http://www.foe.org/keystone-xl-pipeline

For more information about the influence scandal that has embroiled the State Department in recent months, visit: http://foe.org/keystone-xl-pipeline-influence-scandal

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