Washington, D.C. – At a recently concluded press conference on Capitol Hill, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva – the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulations – released a letter he sent to the Government Accountability Office this morning requesting a review of the State Department’s procedures for conducting environmental impact statements. The request comes as conflict-of-interest concerns continue to build around Environmental Resources Management, the contractor chosen by the Department to review the Keystone XL pipeline. You can read the full letter to GAO at http://1.usa.gov/1mwJuSl.
As the Washington Post reported earlier this month at http://wapo.st/1mss8WF:
The consultants writing the State Department’s environmental report on the Keystone XL pipeline have reviewed other projects undertaken in recent years by companies including Keystone’s owner, TransCanada, according to a department official’s letter obtained by environmental groups opposed to the Keystone project. [. . .] One of the key questions in the review centers on how [contractor] ERM responded to the question of whether “within the past three years, have you (or your organization) had a direct or indirect relationship . . . with any business entity that could be affected in any way by the proposed work?” ERM responds: “No. ERM has no existing contract or working relationship with TransCanada.”
Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth, said at today’s event: “We found this information by checking the State Department’s own documents as well as doing our own searches. So what due diligence did the State Department actually do? We don’t think they did much. The State Department did not verify ERM’s conflicts of interest.”
Other speakers included Margrete Strand Rangnes of Public Citizen and Maura Cowley of the Energy Action Coalition. Video highlights of today’s press conference are available at http://bit.ly/Nv55Ou.
In addition to his work with GAO, Rep. Grijalva is leading a petition through CREDO Mobilize asking President Obama not to approve Keystone that has already gathered more than 100,000 signatures. You can see the language and an updated signature count at http://bit.ly/1k5J3Qx.