The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Keystone XL State Department Review Compromised From Day One
Keystone XL pipeline proponents are hoping to force President Obama's hand by short-circuiting the State Department's ongoing review of the pipeline's environmental impact. So far the White House is standing firm. “The president has demonstrated his fidelity to the State Department finishing its review, as part of the transparent and rigorous process that will determine whether the pipeline is in the best interests of the U.S. That’s how this merit-based determination will be made,” a spokesman said.
But just how “transparent and rigorous” and "merit-based" has the review really been? The truth is that from day one, the State Department's review of the pipeline has been polluted by conflicts of interest, insider lobbying and the heavy hand of Big Oil. A new infographic released by Friends of the Earth and 350.org gives the details: to conduct the crucial evaluation of the pipeline's environmental impacts, the State Department has repeatedly turned to contractors hand-picked by pipeline builder TransCanada. So it's no wonder that the Canadian government, TransCanada, Congressional Republicans and the oil industry have all along all lavished praise on the State Department's reviews of Keystone XL.
Following scandals with the first two environmental reviews the job was given to Environmental Resources Management (ERM), which lied on its conflict of interest disclosure form when it said it had no business relationship with TransCanada or other oil companies with a stake in the tar sands. ERM's lies and its longstanding, deep connections with the global petroleum industry, have led to a conflict of interest inquiry by the State Department's inspector general, which is expected to be done early next year.
Follow the trail of the tainted process, and it's clear that the pipeline's review has been severely compromised at every turn. The fact is that President Obama already has enough information to reject the pipeline. It will increase global warming, pose a risk to clean water and farmland along its 1,700 mile route from Alberta to the Gulf Coast, provide fewer than three dozen permanent jobs, and most of its oil will not end up in Americans' gas tanks but will be exported overseas. The bottom line: it's not in the national interest, and President Obama should reject it.
Visit EcoWatch’s KEYSTONE XL page for more related news on this topic.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Brian Barth
Late fall, after the last crops have been harvested, is a time to rest and reflect on the successes and challenges of the gardening year. But for those whose need to putter around in the garden doesn't end when cold weather comes, there's surely a few lingering chores. Get them done now and you'll be ahead of the game in spring.
By Bailey Hopp
If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.
(R) The measles virus pictured under a microscope. PHIL / CDC
The Pacific Island nation of Samoa declared a state of emergency this week, closed all of its schools and limited the number of public gatherings allowed after a measles outbreak has swept across the country of just 200,000 people, according to Reuters.
By Alison Cagle
Rising above the Arizona desert, the Santa Rita Mountains cradle 10,000 years of Indigenous history. The Tohono O'odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Hopi Tribe, among numerous other tribes, have worshipped, foraged, hunted and laid their ancestors to rest in the mountains for generations.
Native Americans are disproportionately without access to clean water, according to a new report, "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan," to be released this afternoon, which shows that more than two million Americans do not have access to access to running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater services.
By Nanticha Ocharoenchai
In the Czech Republic, horses have become the knights in shining armor. A study published in the Journal for Nature Conservation suggests that returning feral horses to grasslands in Podyjí National Park could help boost the numbers of several threatened butterfly species.