DAVID TURNBULL, david at priceofoil.org, @david_turnbull
Turnbull is campaigns director at Oil Change International. Along with Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club, they have just “filed a FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request to the State Department to unearth insider communications with the Canadian government and oil industry in the weeks leading up to the [Friday] release of its [FEIS] Final Environmental Impact Statement” for the Keystone XL pipeline. The group states: “As the American public awaited the FEIS, Canadian government officials, American Petroleum Institute’s Jack Gerard, and TransCanada’s Russ Girling gave the impression that they had already been briefed on the contents of the report.”
Oil Change International has put out a series of blog posts on the Keystone XL pipeline including “What did Big Oil know and when did they know it?” which states that “Gerard was apparently briefed by ‘sources within the administration‘ on the timing and content of the report. Before the environmental community. Before Congress. Before anyone else.” The group states that the oil industry has had this “corrupt process … rigged since the word go.”
Today, Oil Change International also posted a piece titled “KXL ‘Contractor Controversy’ About to ‘Get Heated,’” which states: “When the State Department’s long-awaited Final Environmental Impact Statement into the controversial Keystone XL pipeline was published last week, the report argued that KXL would not significantly add to global warming.
“It therefore supposedly passed the test that Obama outlined in a speech last summer when he said he would only approve the pipeline if it did not ‘significantly exacerbate‘ the problem of climate change.
“However, as Oil Change International pointed out last week, the report conceded that the emissions could be ’1.3 to 27.4 MMTCO2e annually,’ which is equivalent to as many as 5.7 million new cars. And it does not take a climate scientist to tell you that 5.7 million new cars is clearly a significant increase in carbon emissions.
“But there is another deep flaw with the report that is yet to be resolved and could be KXL’s ultimate undoing. Its analysis was contracted out to ERM [Environmental Resources Management], a British contractor with links to the oil industry. When publishing its long list of documents last Friday, the State Department had to suffer the ignominy of also publishing a whole set concerning ERM’s apparent conflicts of interest.
“As Bloomberg reported last Friday, the scrutiny about ERM ‘is about to get heated.’ The controversy kicked off in July last year, when environmental groups accused ERM of “lying” about its ties to TransCanada, the company building the pipeline.”