Green Party challenges Obama corruption on Keystone XL Pipeline

As posted at onthewilderside by Ian Wilder:

Green Party challenges Keystone XL pipeline conflict of interest in US State Dept. consultant’s environmental impact statement

• Green Party notes recent pipeline ruptures, including Friday’s Canadian crude-oil spill in Arkansas

Keystone XL demonstration, White House,8-23-20...The Green Party of the United States has sent the U.S. State Department a strongly worded objection to TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The letter, appended below, cites environmental concerns as well as the conflict of interest that compromises the draft environmental impact statement on which the Obama Adminstration may base its decision on the pipeline. The statement, prepared by fossil fuel consultant Environmental Resources Management, was paid for by TransCanada, a probable violation of legal and ethical standards.

The letter to the State Department, which mentions a July 2011 ExxonMobil pipeline rupture that dumped 63,000 gallons of Canadian crude oil into the Yellowstone River in Montana, was sent just as news was breaking on Friday’s ExxonMobil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas, after a pipeline carrying Canadian crude oil ruptured (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57577164/homes-evacuated-after-exxonmobil-oil-pipeline-spill-in-arkansas/).

The Green Party has taken a strong stand against the tar-sands oil pipelines: see “Green Party urges national protest against the proposed Keystone XL and Trailbreaker pipelines” (January 31, 2013, http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=583) and “Greens to participate in the Feb. 17 protest in DC against the Keystone XL Pipeline, after the Green Party endorses the event” (February 13, 2013, http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=588).

U.S. Department of State
Attn: Genevieve Walker, NEPA Coordinator
2201 C Street NW, Room 2726
Washington, D.C. 20520
http://www.keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov/
keystonecomments@state.gov

Dear Ms. Walker:

The Green Party of the United States (GPUS) registers its opposition to the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) released by the U.S. State Department (DOS) for TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project on both ethical and environmental grounds.

First, GPUS understands that DOS, which was responsible for reviewing the project on behalf of the federal government and lacking the in-house expertise to do so, recruited fossil fuel consultant Environmental Resources Management (ERM) to draft the required environmental impact statement. GPUS is concerned about the conflict of interest presented by the fact that TransCanada paid ERM an undisclosed sum to produce the SEIS. While it may be commonplace for industries to pay consultants to review projects subject to U.S. government approval, the scale of this project and its potential adverse environmental impact required DOS to hire a consultant with no financial ties to the project sponsor. In other words, the consultant hired to draft the SEIS should have been paid by DOS, not TransCanada.

GPUS also deplores the fact that DOS omitted the amount TransCanada paid ERM from documents published on its website, as indicated by a Grist article published on March 6, 2013:

http://grist.org/article/state-department-keystone-xl-report-actually-written-by-transcanada-contractor/

The failure of DOS to report what TransCanada paid ERM shows more than the appearance of a conflict of interest. DOS’ deliberate withholding of information relevant to the SEIS is contrary even to the de minimis legal standards governing conflict of interest in the U.S.today and constitutes a betrayal of public trust.

Second, ERM’s conclusion that the project has no significant environmental impact, because tar sands crude will be transported one way or the other or that other alternatives may produce even more impacts, turns the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on its head. NEPA requires an assessment of the project’s benefits in light of its own costs, not just the costs of some other proposed project, such as transporting diluted bitumin (dilbit) by rail car instead of pipe.

Furthermore the costs of pipeline spills from crude oil consisting of benzene laced dilbit have already been documented. “Tar Sands Pipelines Safety Risks” issued by NRDC, NWF, Pipeline Safety Trust and the Sierra Club in February, 2011, reported that a July, 2010 pipeline rupture dumped 840,000 gallons of dilbit into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River, causing 60 percent of the people in the vicinity to experience “respiratory, gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms consistent with acute exposure to benzene and other petroleum related chemicals.” The spill required “over 150,000 feet of boom, 175 heavy spill response trucks, 43 boats, and 48 oil skimmers” to clean up. The dollar cost of the cleanup has been estimated by the Canadian pipeline owner Enbridge at $550 million, and the crisis is not over. In fact on March 14, 2013 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered Enbridge to dredge the Kalamazoo River of the the gooey, toxic sludge
that sunk to the bottom of the river and has yet to be removed.

It also bears mentioning that Exxon Mobil spent $135 million to clean up a July, 2011 pipeline rupture that dumped 63,000 gallons of crude oil along 70 miles of the once pristine Yellowstone River in Montana.

In light of the obvious financial conflict of interest in TransCanada’s payment of an undisclosed sum to ERM to produce an SEIS on its behalf and in light of the massive costs associated with remediation of dilbit spills, GPUS believes that the finding of no significant impact is unwarranted and urges DOS to employ a consultant directly with no ties past or present to TransCanada to produce a final SEIS for the Keystone XL Pipeline project.

Sincerely yours,
Secretary, Green Party of the United States

 

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One thought on “Green Party challenges Obama corruption on Keystone XL Pipeline

  1. Richard Kane

    The Delaware River value watershed is still fracking free.

    The Delaware River Valley April 20-22 is abuzz with excitement over this valley still fracking free but in immediate danger of not being so The following in in the Apr 19 weekend Philly Metro, similar article in the Philly Inquirer and NY Times,
    http://www.metro.us/newyork/news/local/2013/04/18/mark-ruffalo-dont-frack-new-york/

    However the Green Party posts are generic for Pennsylvania instead of a joint Eastern PA, NY, and NJ joint fliers.

    The Green Party angle I didn’t succeed to getting published except at the Philadelphia Independent Media, which unlike the Pittsburgh Independent Media and elsewhere is down to one volunteer, I wish Greens would help out our Independent Media
    http://readersupportednews.org/pm-section/27-27/17015-earth-day-1970-today-a-centuries-ago
    http://phillyimc.org/en/earth-day-1970-today-and-centuries-ago

    Interestingly 400 years ago the Quakers who came to Philadelphia thought God didn’t want them to waste, other groups like the Shakers also had a sense of ecology. Along with the largest city owned park in the world, in Philly, is quite a number of still remaining green squares, though some like Logan Circle are no longer square.

    Broad Street the longest straight street in the world no longer has a green center strip, but
    Bainbridge and Spring Garden still do have a greenery strip along the street as well as the later built Ben Franklin Parkway toward the art museum.

    If you are in Eastern Pennsylvania or at the Delaware River in New Jersey come to the local DEP a block north of the Norristown High Speed Line to protest fracking on Earth Day,
    http://readersupportednews.org/pm-section/27-27/17015-earth-day-1970-today-a-centuries-ago
    http://phillyimc.org/en/earth-day-1970-today-and-centuries-ago

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