Year 2, Month 10, Day 7: Such Models Of Friendship Are Precious And Rare

The Omaha World-Herald reports on the latest FOIA release of correspondence between a TransCanada lobbyist and his former employees — the U.S. State Department:

WASHINGTON — A group opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline says a fresh batch of emails it released Monday shows the State Department is biased in favor of the project.

In one email exchange from a little over a year ago, pipeline lobbyist Paul Elliott forwarded a press release to State Department official Marja Verloop touting an endorsement of the pipeline by Montana Sen. Max Baucus.

“Go Paul! Baucus support holds clout,” Verloop responded.

Environmental advocacy group Friends of the Earth describes that email as a State Department employee literally rooting for the lobbyist and his effort to win approval of the Keystone XL.

The pipeline would carry 700,000 barrels of oil a day from tar-sand strip mines in western Canada to oil refineries on America’s Gulf Coast. It would cross Nebraska’s Sand Hills and the underground Ogallala Aquifer along the way.

This is the second round of emails that Friends of the Earth has obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and then released. The company behind the pipeline, TransCanada Inc., and the State Department have both said there have been no inappropriate interactions.

Well, they would, wouldn’t they? Sent October 3:

When our political environment has been so thoroughly contaminated by the vast financial power of multinational oil corporations, we shouldn’t be too surprised at an incestuous connection between a lobbyist for the Keystone XL pipeline and his former bosses in the State Department.

This pollution of our political environment is all too likely to find its counterpart in the “real world” of complex interdependent ecosystems. Calling TransCanada’s project a catastrophe waiting to happen is like calling Beethoven’s Ninth a “nice tune.” At multiple scales, from the inevitable leaks along the pipeline’s length to the destruction of vast swaths of boreal forest, and the potential for a devastating escalation of global climate change, the Keystone XL is a symphony of disaster.

It’s distressing that the U.S. State Department and its erstwhile employee turned pipeline lobbyist are singing from the same page. President Obama should revoke the Department’s authority over the pipeline.

Warren Senders

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