This Graphic Says It All About Keystone XL Web of Deceit

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Friends of the Earth-U.S. (FOE) and 350.org have jointly unveiled an easily sharable graphic depicting the web of deceit surrounding the environmental review for the northern half of Transcanada’s Keystone XL tar sands export pipeline

The graphic’s notorious star: Environmental Resources Management, Inc., better known as ERM Group. ERM Group was chosen by the State Department – more specifically by Transcanada for the State Department – to perform the review.

“[T]he process has a built-in conflict of interest, because the contractors who do EIS studies for the government are paid for by the applicant,” a July investigative piece in Bloomberg explains

The graphic serves as a summation of lots of the work done here on DeSmogBlog over the last six months. In so doing, it digs into conflicts of interest, lobbyist influence peddling and outright corruption occurring at the U.S. State Department pertaining to Keystone XL.

Check out the graphic below:

Highlights of our work included in the graphic:

a.) Our revalation that not only is ERM Group a dues-paying member of the American Petroluem Institute (API), but API also spent $22 million lobbying for Keystone XL since it was proposed in mid-2008.  

b.) ERM Group lied on its environmental review conflict of interest form, stating it had no conflicts, even though it currently also maintains Transcanada as a client in Alaska, overseeing the permitting process for the Alaska Gas Pipeilne (now known as South Central LNG).

Missing in the graphic, but included as part of a DeSmogBlog exclusive investigation: President Obama’s personal attorney’s law firm, Perkins Coie, represents Transcanada for the Alaska Gas Pipeilne.

Robert “Bob” Bauer is his attorney and his wife is former Obama White House Communications Director Anita Dunn. Dunn now does PR for Transcanda at the PR firm she co-owns, SKDKnickerbocker. 

c.) One high-level ERM employee who has done consulting work with Transcanada attempted to cover up that fact on his LinkedIn after initial stories came out about who ERM was and why it was troubling they performed the environmental review for the State Department.

d.) The over-arching issue trumping all other issues: ERM‘s report says Keystone XL will have negligible climate change impacts, so we have nothing to worry about according to the report. Retired NASA scientist James Hansen – who helped put runaway climate change on the map to begin with – has called full development of the tar sands “game over for the climate.” 

It’s not all a lost cause, though: the Peruvian government recently rejected a gas project ERM Group said was environmentally safe and sound, saying indigenous people living in the region could be made extinct if it goes ahead.

Stay tuned to DeSmogBlog for continuing coverage of Keystone XL and tar sands extraction issues.
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Steve Horn is a former Research Fellow and writer for DeSmog and a freelance investigative journalist based in San Diego, CA. He currently works as a climate reporter and producer for The Real News Network.

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