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Contract for Keystone XL review was between TransCanada and Cardno Entrix, State Department documents confirm

Posted Mar. 9, 2012 / Posted by: Kelly Trout

Revelation adds to concerns over conflicts of interest

Contract is heavily redacted, giving the appearance of impropriety

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Under pressure from Friends of the Earth, the State Department today made public the third-party contract and conflict of interest documents for the environmental review of the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. The documents confirm long-held suspicions that the contract was brokered between TransCanada, the Canadian oil firm applying for the pipeline permit, and Cardno Entrix, an environmental consulting firm.

Friends of the Earth sent a letter to the State Department last month calling for immediate release of the contract after the department continued to stonewall, indicating that it would reject Friends of the Earth's Freedom of Information Act request for the contracts. A little over a month earlier, the State Department acknowledged it had a list of "over six pages of contracts" consistent with Friends of the Earth's FOIA request. The documents were finally released with heavy redactions to Friends of the Earth on Wednesday afternoon following the threat of legal action.

Damon Moglen, climate and energy director at Friends of the Earth, had the following statement in response:

"The State Department has fought tooth and nail to keep these documents from the public, and now it's clear why: they demonstrate that the contract for the environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline was negotiated between TransCanada and Cardno Entrix, a clear conflict of interest. It appears that the State Department put TransCanada in the driver's seat to broker the review of Keystone XL. This impropriety alone should disqualify the environmental impact statement for the project.

"Equally alarming is the prevalence of redactions in the documents. The public has the right to know the conditions under which the environmental review of a pipeline that would have serious impacts on our land, water, health and climate was brokered — especially when those conditions resulted in a flawed, biased review. It certainly begs the question: what is the State Department hiding?

"What's more, it appears that there are discrepancies in the version of the contract provided to Friends of the Earth and the version made public on the State Department's website. We will closely dissect both documents to ensure the public has access to all the information available on the review of this controversial project."

The documents released today by the State Department are available at: http://www.keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov/clientsite/keystonexl.nsf?Open

The documents released in response to Friends of the Earth's FOIA request are available for download as PDFs at the following links:

Contact:

Kelly Trout, 202-222-0722, ktrout@foe.org

Kurt Walters, 202-222-0751, kwalters@foe.org

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Friends of the Earth fights to defend the environment and create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

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