Key documents have recently come to light, exposed by a Friends of the Earth "Freedom of Information Act" request. The documents paint a disturbing picture of negligent mismanagement by the State Department and TransCanada's successful efforts to manipulate any attempts to objectively review the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
This week the New York Times went public with the story revealing that the State Department "flouted the intent of federal law" in hiring a major client of TransCanada, Cardno Entrix to oversee the third-party environmental assessment of the pipeline.
Voicing their dismay and concern, Senators Bernie Sanders, Patrick Leahy, and Ron Wyden sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the conflict of interests with TransCanada and a contractor.
On October 7, 2011, the New York Times reported that TransCanada was permitted by the Department of State to screen possible contractors and, for all intents and purposes, to select the one that would prepare the (Environmental Impact Statement – EIS) mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act. The articles states that TransCanada successfully recommended to the Department of State that it select Cardno Entrix to conduct the environmental review, despite the fact that Cardno Entrix lists TransCanada as a “major client.” The article goes on to state that Cardno Entrix may not have fully disclosed all of its work for TransCanada in the conflict of interest affidavit required in the EIS, despite the conflict its relationship with TransCanada presents in this case. Cardno Entrix also apparently played a significant role in organizing public hearings on the pipeline proposal.
Senator Harry Reid has seconded these concerns, sending a letter to Secretary Clinton "saying he has ‘serious concern’ about allowing TransCanada to construct and operate a 1,700-mile-long pipeline between Hardisty, Alberta, and Port Arthur, Tex."