The Keystone XL Coverup: The State Department’s Attempt to Hide Oil Industry Connections
by Jesse Coleman
However, this is not the first time that the State Department has been criticized for conflicts of interests involving TransCanada and Keystone XL. From Mother Jones:
- ERM's second-in-command on the Keystone report, Andrew Bielakowski, had worked on three previous pipeline projects for TransCanada over seven years as an outside consultant. He also consultedon projects for ExxonMobil, BP, and ConocoPhillips, three of the Big Fiveoil companies that could benefit from the Keystone XL project and increased extraction of heavy crude oil taken from the Canadian tar sands.
- Another ERM employee who contributed to State'sKeystone reportand whose prior work history was also redactedpreviously worked for Shell Oil;
- A third worked as a consultant for Koch Gateway Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. Shell and Koch* have a significant financial interest in the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. ERMitself has worked for Chevron, which has invested in Canadian tar sands extraction, according to its website.
In October 2011, Obama's reelection campaign hiredBroderick Johnson, who had previously lobbied in favor of Keystone, as a senior adviser.Emails obtained by Friends of the Earth, an environmental group that opposes the Keystone pipeline, revealed a cozy relationship between TransCanada lobbyist Paul Elliott and Marja Verloop, an official at the US Embassy in Canada whose portfolio covers the Keystone project. Before he lobbied for TransCanada, Elliott worked as deputy campaign manager on Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential bid. Clinton served as secretary of state until recently.The question is, how can the State Department get away with routinely ignoring or burying connections between the oil industry and regulators responsible for Keystone XL?