Climate & Energy Blog

Keystone XL: Is EPA caving into pressure to sign off on biased review?”

Posted Nov. 5, 2013 / Posted by: Adam Russell

Friends of the Earth: No decision until corruption inquiry is complete

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Friends of the Earth is urging the Environmental Protection Agency not to soften its stance on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

Since the Keystone XL pipeline was first proposed, the EPA has been steadfast in its insistence that the environmental review of Keystone consider the climate impacts of Canadian tar sands development. In April, EPA declared that the scandal-tainted environmental review of the pipeline was “insufficient” in part because of its assumption that Canadian tar sands oil would find other routes to market if Keystone XL is not built.

But on Monday, in a conversation with The Boston Globe, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy seemed to echo a favorite talking point of pipeline proponents. Globe reporter David Abel tweeted that McCarthy "didn't buy the argument that blocking the pipeline will prevent the extraction of tar sands oil." While she later clarified that she “never said whether the Obama administration plans to approve the pipeline” this would still be a significant weakening of EPA’s opposition.

McCarthy’s comments also suggested that EPA is considering Keystone's fate even as the State Department inspector general is investigating how a consultant with extensive ties to pipeline builder TransCanada was awarded the contract for the review despite obvious conflicts of interest. That investigation is not expected to be finished until February.

In response, Ross Hammond, senior campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said:

"EPA has been a strong voice inside the administration calling for an independent and thorough review of Keystone XL. Now it seems as if they are caving into pressure from Big Oil to sign off on this corrupt review. Given how critical EPA has been of the State Department review, yesterday’s comments are deeply troubling. EPA needs to stand strong and not let itself and our planet get steamrolled by oil interests. It should refuse to sign off on this biased review, which fails to take into effect the true climate impacts of the pipeline. It is even more absurd that EPA would endorse a review authored  by a member of the American Petroleum Institute while the State Department’s own inspector general is looking into possible conflicts of interest that contractor has."

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Contact:
Ross Hammond,(415) 559-5082, rhammond@foe.org

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