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Plot Thickens On Politics Of Keystone Pipeline XL

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View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
06 October 2011, 1:33 PM
Proposed 1,700-mile tar sands oil pipeline has friends in high places
Alberta, Canada. Tar sands mining operations permanently damages the environmen with vast drilling infrastructure, open pit mines, and toxic wastewater ponds up to three miles wide. (Velcrow Ripper / Flickr)

Documents released as a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Earthjustice have uncovered strong ties between Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and the team of lobbyists hired to promote the pipeline’s approval at the State Department.

The documents provide evidence of inappropriately cozy relationships between State Department employees and lobbyists for TransCanada, the pipeline company. One State Department official cheered “Go Paul!” after TransCanada lobbyist Paul Elliott announced that the pipeline company had obtained new support for the pipeline. As the New York Times commented, these guys are clearly on the same team.

After the release of the first round of FOIA documents, researchers at a dug a little deeper and discovered additional ties between pipeline lobbyists and State Department. 

Today, Earthjustice, on behalf of Friends of the Earth, the Center for International Environmental Law and Corporate Ethics International, is expanding the request, asking the State Department to release all documents concerning communications between the agency and TransCanada staff, as well as with employees of two lobbying firms with close ties to Clinton and the Obama administration who have been retained by TransCanada.  The original FOIA request focused narrowly on correspondence with Paul Elliott, TransCanada’s lead Washington, D.C. lobbyist who was formerly a high-ranking Hillary Clinton campaign aide.

“The Obama Administration has played a lot of lip service to transparency and fair dealing” said Earthjustice staff attorney Sarah Burt. “We intend to do what we can to ensure the law is followed and these commitments are honored.”

There’s a lot riding on the State Department’s permitting decision. . The pipeline would bring some of the world’s dirtiest, most highly polluting oil to the U.S. from Canada, threatening land and communities along the length of the pipeline with risks of leaks and spills. Tar sands mining is destroying caribou and migratory bird habitat in Alberta—and killing birds that land in toxic wastewater pits, mistaking them for freshwater ponds.

And because of the energy and water-intensive extraction and refining processes, the greenhouse gas emissions associated with tar sands oil are dramatically higher than emissions from conventional oil.

We’ll keep you posted on the trail of documents. In the meantime, a bit of parody and humor may be in order….

Wow. Already signed petitions against the pipeline and I get the obvious reasons for not going there. I have to say I am shocked at the attack on Hillary and Obama (sorta) and have to say, I don't know who to follow anymore. Almost voted for Hillary! Did vote for Obama and glad.

I admit that I don't keep up on every move in government and politics, so talk to us educated average Joes who are, for example, educating the youth of America and can't put 1000 percent of civic duty time into only a 100 percent brain when we have to grade 36 essays per 6 classes ON OUR OWN TIME and have always done so. Now we are the target of society's criticism? Sorry, too hard working at backpeddling to think about a pipeline and that is SAD!

What do I not know that causes that animated script about Hillary? Give it to us in 9 year old language. (No baby talk. Don't insult me.)

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