Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today sent a letter co-signed by 24 other House Democratic colleagues to President Obama highlighting serious corporate conflicts of interest in the preparation of the pending Keystone XL environmental impact statement (EIS). The company conducting the analysis, Environmental Resources Management, seemingly failed to disclose previous contracts with TransCanada – the company seeking to build Keystone – in its bid to the State Department.
In its application, ERM vouched that it had “no direct or indirect relationship … with any business entity that could be affected in any way by the proposed work.” In fact, the company worked with TransCanada in 2011 on the Alaska Petroleum Pipeline and has worked for more than a dozen oil companies with financial interests in seeing Keystone completed. Friends of the Earth has documented these conflicts in its comprehensive visual Keystone XL timeline “A Polluted Process.”
As the new House letter – available at http://1.usa.gov/1e8hyDV – reads in part, “The Department of State Office of Inspector General is conducting an ongoing investigation of these issues, and its findings are expected next January at the earliest. It would be unwise and premature for State to release an EIS prepared by Environmental Resources Management while it remains under investigation for lying to federal officials about its business connections and practices. We respectfully request that you delay the release of the draft Keystone XL EIS at least until the inspector general report is publicly available.”
The issue has received increasing scrutiny for months, including coverage by Mother Jones in April; by Huffington Post in June; by the Christian Science Monitor, The Hill, Huffington Post, International Business Times and multiple other outlets in August; and Huffington Post again in October, among many other publications.
As the Members of Congress write, “Public comment on a draft EIS should be informed by all the relevant information. In this case, that standard cannot possibly be met before the Office of Inspector General finishes its work.”