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Climate scientist James Hansen has said that it is "game over" for the climate if the Keystone XL pipeline is allowed to be built as it would lock us into unsustainable use of the dirty tar sands crude for the foreseeable future. And climate activist and author Bill McKibben has written about Global Warming's Terrifying New Math which states that we must leave the oil industries massive oil reserves in the ground if we are to have a chance at mitigating climate change. At his speech on climate in June, President Obama stated "the net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward. It’s relevant."

Map of Keystone XL route
Proposed Keystone XL pipeline
The State Department has been studying the impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline because it's responsible for the decision to approve or disapprove its construction as the pipeline would cross the international border separating Canada from the United States to carry bitumen from the Alberta tar sands pits across the U.S. to refining plants on the U.S. gulf coast.

When does a study cease to be an open, scientifically based reflection of current research and become a propaganda tool used to further private interests? The evidence that the State Departments Draft Environmental Impact Study (EIS) of the building of the Keystone XL pipeline has crossed into the area of dubious credibility has reached mass proportion.

Please continue below the fold for more about the Keystone XL pipeline.

Steve Horn at DeSmogBlog has been assembling the evidence:

A DeSmogBlog investigation reveals that Robert Bauer, former White House Counsel and President Barack Obama's personal attorney, works at the corporate law firm Perkins Coie LLP, which does legal work for TransCanada's South Central LNG Project, formerly known as Alaska Gas Pipeline Project.

Furthermore, Dan Sullivan, current Commissioner of Alaska's Department of Natural Resources, and former Alaska Attorney General and former Assistant Secretary of State in the Bush Administration, is a former Perkins attorney.

These findings come in the immediate aftermath of a recent investigation revealing the contractor hired by Obama's U.S. State Department to do the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the northern half of TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands export pipeline - Environmental Resources Management, Inc. (ERM Group) - lied on its June 2012 conflict of interest filing. ERM Group checked the box on the form saying it had no current business ties to TransCanada.(pdf)

In fact, ERM - a member of the American Petroleum Institute(API), which has spent over $22 million lobbying on tar sands and Keystone XL since 2008 - does maintain business ties to TransCanada, the investigation revealed. This includes an ongoing consulting relationship with South Central LNG, co-owned by TransCanada, ExxonMobil, BP and ConocoPhillips.

Under 18 USC § 1001, making a "materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation...[to the] executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States" is a crime punishable by up to five years in jail.  
(printed with permission)

On July 16, Friends of the Earth sued the State Department in federal court for failure to turn over records detailing the contacts between lobbyists for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and the Obama administration. Ross Hammond of Friends of the Earth: "If ERM lied about its relationship with TransCanada, how can Secretary Kerry, President Obama or the American people believe anything the company says about the pipeline's environmental impact?"
On April 15, Friends of the Earth filed an extensive Freedom of Information Act request demanding the expedited release of all communications since October 2011 between the State Department and numerous lobbyists and lobbying firms for TransCanada and the Province of Alberta. State denied the group's request for a speedy release of the records, and three months later has yet to release any records or say when they will be released. The matter is urgent because State is in the final stages of an environmental review that is key to whether the Department recommends that the president approve or reject a permit for the pipeline.
As evidence mounts that the State Department's Draft EIS is compromised and deeply flawed; Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Congressman Harry Waxman (D-CA) have sent a letter (pdf) to the State Department requesting that they fix "significant mistakes" in their climate impacts analysis of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Please join Daily Kos and the Natural Resources Defense Council in urging President Obama to keep his promise and reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 03:15 PM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots and Climate Change SOS.

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