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I wish I were surprised by the news that the State Department relied on oil and pipeline consulting firms to shape its new and improved Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL pipeline.

The State Department's recent conclusion that the Keystone XL pipeline "is unlikely to have a substantial impact" on the rate of Canada's oil sands development was based on analysis provided by two consulting firms with ties to oil and pipeline companies that could benefit from the proposed project.

Inside Climate News, article by Lisa Song

Song digs into the pedigree of the two companies in question.
EnSys Energy has worked with ExxonMobil, BP and Koch Industries, which own oil sands production facilities and refineries in the Midwest that process heavy Canadian crude oil. Imperial Oil, one of Canada's largest oil sands producers, is a subsidiary of Exxon.

ICF International works with pipeline and oil companies but doesn't list specific clients on its website. It declined to comment on the Keystone, referring questions to the State Department.

The State Department has not responded to press inquiries. Transparency is so last century.

Here is the double talk. Canada wants the pipeline expansion to speed tar sands development, but we are told that the pipeline will have no impact on tar sands development. Meanwhile, the consultants insert mush about how the real rate-limiting factors are rail transport and tanker port development. Apparently, they think we are stupid. Both rail and tanker transport ratchets up the cost of delivery and tightens margins on tar sands crude.

Canada, TransCanada, and the oil industry have spent a fortune on lobbying for this pipeline. Their interests are clear. Expanding the tar sands will make money and they could not care about climate effects. Everyone understands their destructive agenda.

The consultants used by the State Department matter because these firms stand to benefit from additional business if the pipeline is approved. Here is how David Driesen, an environmental lawyer, frames the issue.

"I think the question of conflict of interest is a legitimate one," Driesen said. If consulting firms are "used to working for industry clients, it's possible they would subtly orient their analysis in a certain way, and that could be reflected" in the document.
The head of EnSys claims they had no choice.
"If we'd shied clear of an assignment from the Department of State because sometime in the past we've worked for a company that could benefit [from the Keystone XL]—and if we did that consistently—we would be out of a business," he said.
Outsourcing of complex reports is standard operating procedure for the State Department. The question is why you would tap firms that service oil industry clients rather than find expertise about the carbon footprint of the tar sands? The report cites life cycle estimate for emissions that low balls extraction emissions and ignores refinery emissions.

The lack of transparency is also a problem. The State Department has not been willing to answer questions about the report. We are left with little more than submitting a comment to the Federal Register when the comment period opens.

By the way, this is not the first time the State Department has raised eyebrows for its choices of consultants to help write the environmental impact statement for the Keystone XL pipeline. They used a firm connected to TransCanada to produce the 2011 version.

When the third version was released in August 2011, the agency came under fire for allowing Cardno Entrix, a consulting firm that lists TransCanada as one of its clients, to work on the report.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers estimates very little growth in tar sands development without new pipeline projects, particularly Keystone XL.
In this forecast, oil sands  production rises from 1.6 million b/d in 2011 to almost double at 3.1 million b/d by 2020 and 4.2 million b/d by 2025 and 5.0 million b/d by
the end of the forecast period in 2030. If the only projects to proceed were the ones in operation or currently under construction, oil sands production would still increase by 54 per cent to 2.5 million b/d by 2020 and then remain relatively flat for the rest of the forecast.
Update: (h/t Laurence Lewis)

Brad Johnson has an article in the Huffington Post that further extends this ugly story. The State Department contracted with a company paid by TransCanada to write part of the environmental impact statement.

The State Department's "don't worry" environmental impact statement for the proposed Keystone XL tarsands pipeline, released late Friday afternoon, was written not by government officials but by a private company in the pay of the pipeline's owner. The "sustainability consultancy" Environmental Resources Management (ERM) was paid an undisclosed amount under contract to TransCanada to write the statement, which is now an official government document. The statement estimates, and then dismisses, the pipeline's massive carbon footprint and other environmental impacts, because, it asserts, the mining and burning of the tar sands is unstoppable.

The department's contractor-written Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement even says the pipeline will be safe from the climate impacts to which it will contribute.

The documents from the ERM-TransCanada agreement are on the State Department's website, but payment amounts and other clients and past work of ERM are redacted. In the contract documents, ERM partner Steven J. Koster certifies that his company has no conflicts of interest. He also certifies that ERM has no business relationship with TransCanada or "any business entity that could be affected in any way by the proposed work" (notwithstanding the impact statement contract itself). In a cover letter, Koster promises State Department NEPA Coordinator Genevieve Walker that ERM understands "the need for an efficient and expedited process to meet the demands of the desired project schedule."



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Comment Preferences

  •  The story of our time. (19+ / 0-)

    It's like looking at the parts of a car's transmission gearing.

    All the corporate cogs fit precisely together with the government ones.
    The problem is that when things are real, and not just abstract reports and numbers, they can't find anyplace at all to fit in the machine scenario.

    And what doesn't fit gets shut out and crushed - at least so far.

  •  Complete corporate capture of government (28+ / 0-)

    Both the U.S. and Canadian governments' energy policies are controlled by the oil and gas companies.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 05:03:15 AM PST

    •  The sad thing (14+ / 0-)

      Leaving aside the climate impacts, I understand how the Canadian government benefits from the tar sands revenues. The benefit to the US government is zero. And most of the oil companies have found loopholes so they pay little corporate tax. There is no conceivable way to spin this decision as beneficial to the American people. There is no conceivable way to spin it as carbon neutral. All the refinery greenhouse gas emissions for tar sands blows up our carbon budget. Very frustrating.

      Be radical in your compassion.

      by DWG on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 05:40:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The 60% of the $200 billion investment is from (8+ / 0-)

        the USA. You might say the USA is the majority owner of the Tar Sands. All your big oil companies are involved and have leased the most land. You can imagine the lobbying being done right now by those oil companies.

        Check out Syncrude's Board of Directors to see how many Americans are on it.

        •  I agree, except it is not the USA per se (7+ / 0-)

          that has ownership, but oil companies that happen to be headquartered here. The costs and benefits to US citizens are far more difficult to define. The pipeline is not going to make gas cheaper or flood state and federal treasuries with revenue. We get all of the emissions from refining this crap and all the risks associated with pipeline spills.

          That is my frustration. The cost-benefit analysis for the pipeline has been essentially fake. There is zero attention to climate change. They acknowledge that small leaks are likely and larger leaks have a reasonably high probability, but discount the impact because the route now skirts the Ogalala aquifer. The benefits of job creation have been completely debunked beyond temporary construction jobs. The energy security issue is equally bogus because the amount passing through the pipeline will have minimal impact. Oil prices are set in global commodity markets so gas pump prices will not be affected. That only leaves the oil company profit balanced against climate impacts. Tax revenues from the major oil companies has been a joke because of deductions paid to foreign governments and sheltered income offshore.

          Be radical in your compassion.

          by DWG on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 07:33:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, the USA gets the pipeline crashing across the (5+ / 0-)

            landscape and it gets massive air pollution from the Koch Bros. refineries in Texas built to process heavy crude. The refineries burn petcoke a byproduct of bitumen and it's much dirtier than coal.

            The refineries get the big profits, while the Americans will not be getting cheap gasoline.

            So I agree with you on the American people's side of things but as a Canadian, I just like to disown the Tar Sands as much as I can. It's a multinational global operation.

             

            •  The refineries do not burn petcoke (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elwior, Agathena

              n/t

              Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

              by 6412093 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:54:42 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, the Koch Bros. refineries are burning petcoke (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                6412093, Words In Action
                •  I wouldn't be too sure (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elwior, Agathena

                  I looked thru the Koch (Flint Hills) Minn refinery air permit and the only fuel I found them using was natural/refinery fuel gas.

                  http://www.pca.state.mn.us/...

                  Both Koch refineries produce petcoke, but I don't think they burn it.

                  The Texas air permits aren't usually on line so I can't check their Corpus permit.  I'll call Texas.

                  Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

                  by 6412093 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:19:44 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You are right, sorry, I misread this report (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    elwior, ybruti, cordgrass

                    which states that the refineries are producing petcoke, not using it as fuel.

                    Our report reveals the following startling facts about the tar sands and petcoke.

                    Petcoke in the tar sands is turning American refineries into coal factories.

                    • There is 24 percent more CO2 embedded in a barrel of tar sands bitumen than in a barrel of light oil.

                    • 15 to 30 percent of a barrel of tar sands bitumen can end up as petcoke depending on the upgrading and refining process used.

                    • Of 134 operating U.S. refineries in 2012, 59 are equipped to produce petcoke.

                    • U.S. refineries produced over 61.5 million tons of petcoke in 2011 – enough to fuel 50 average U.S. coal plants each year.

                    • In 2011, over 60 percent of U.S petcoke production was exported.

                    Keystone XL will fuel five coal plants and thus emit 13% more CO2 than the U.S. State Department has previously considered.
                    • Nine of the refineries close to the southern terminus of Keystone XL have nearly 30 percent of U.S. petcoke production capacity, over 50,000 tons a day.

                    • The petcoke produced from the Keystone XL pipeline would fuel 5 coal plants and produce 16.6 million metric tons of CO2 each year.

                    • These petcoke emissions have been excluded from State Department emissions estimates for the Keystone XL pipeline. Including these emissions raises the total annual emissions of the pipeline by 13% above the State Department’s calculations.

                    http://priceofoil.org/...

                    Thanks for setting the record straight.

                    •  And the Koch (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Agathena

                      brothers' Oxbow Corporation is the largest trader of petcoke on earth.  Petcoke production impacts are an interesting issue for Keystone XL.

                      Folks have to be careful commenting on the SEIS,  there will be a response to comments, and the responders will pounce on any minor misstatement to discredit the entire comment.

                      Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

                      by 6412093 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:47:45 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  I was thinking (0+ / 0-)

                      about the petcoke issue, you could comment on the EIS that it should consider the impacts of shipping the millions of tons of tar sands-produced-petcoke from the Gulf, on oil-fueled ships, travelling around the world to the customers.

                      There will be lots of ship trips carrying the "new" petcoke, and ship engines burn dirty, and that's probably several hundreds tons of pollutants every ship trip.

                      Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

                      by 6412093 on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:16:48 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  Much of your comment is erroneous or conflated (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elwior

              Since the petroleum refining industry in TX and LA  has been running on heavy sour crude from TX, gulf offshore, Mexico, Saudi source and Venezuela, such refineries are already capable of processing and refining synthetic tar sands crude.   There isn't any valid basis to say that synthetic crude will cause higher emissions than the crude sources they have already been using.  

              The Koch Brothers don't own most of the refineries in the region.

              Your statement:

              The refineries burn petcoke a byproduct of bitumen and it's much dirtier than coal.
              ...is just plain wrong.    Petroleum coke is generated in within fluidized catalytic cracking units from FCCU treatment of gas-oils from distillation processes.   The petroleum coke generated within the FCCU process is burned within that process equipment by the FCCU catalyst regenerator.   No petroleum coke is introduced to the FCCU unit from an external source.

              Refineries that operate coker process units generate petroleum coke and most of this coke is shipped to cement plants and, to a lesser extent, electric utility plants.   I can't think of a single petroleum refinery in TX or LA that burns or uses the pet coke they generate from their coker units, if they have them.

              The toxicants contained in petroelum coke can be roughly comparable to the constituents of high sulfur eastern coal.  Petroleum coke will have higher concentrations of selenium and vanadium than most coals.  

              Make false claims and conflating that utilization of tar sands synthetic crude means that petroleum refineries are burning petroleum coke as a delivered fuel isn't going to be helpful in addressing the public policy aspects of the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal.

            •  I only see 1 refinery owned by the Koch Brothers (0+ / 0-)

              in Texas....a Flint Hills facility in Corpus Christie.

              Most of the refineries in TX and LA are owned by Motiva,
              ExxonMobil, Marathon-Ashland Petroleum, BP, Valero and others that are not owned by the Koch Brothers.

          •  Hell, I'm surprised not to see a push (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior

            ..to have their pipeline to climate-hell taxpayer funded.

            Slackers.

            Input is one thing, stupid is another

            by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:29:17 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  The gov't doesn't even benefit (0+ / 0-)

        Because the tar sands leave behind a toxic legacy of poisoned lakes, and if you think the oil companies will be the ones to clean those up I have a lovely bridge to sell you.

        No, Joe Taxpayer will be on the hook for corporate pollution remediation.  Again.

  •  The State Dept. requests your comments (20+ / 0-)

    on extending the pipeline. Send them to: keystonecomments@state.gov

    I sent this comment yesterday:

    The Keystone XL Pipeline will not benefit the U.S. except for some temporary jobs building it.  The Canadian tarsands synthetic crude will be exported to Asia, and the greenhouse gases from this exceptionally dirty fuel will exacerbate global warming.  The U.S. should not encourage Canada's effort to sell this fossil fuel.

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 05:04:05 AM PST

    •  Great comment (7+ / 0-)

      I was wondering when the comment period would open. Thanks for the heads up. I am off to add one of my own.

      Be radical in your compassion.

      by DWG on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 05:12:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for your excellent analysis (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DWG, cotterperson, elwior

        of the state department's report.  The links you provided are extremely useful.

        The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

        by ybruti on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 05:15:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Add sources and more facts (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ybruti, cotterperson, marina, elwior

          I write EISs for a living.  Your comment needs more factual support to be effective.  Great head up and fa

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:17:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Will incorporate these facts (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, cotterperson

            from Friends of the Earth in another comment:

            Pollution from tar sands oil greatly eclipses that of conventional oil. During tar sands oil production alone, levels of carbon dioxide emissions are three times higher than those of conventional oil, due to more energy-intensive extraction and refining processes.

            Refining tar sands oil is dirtier than refining conventional oil, and results in higher emissions of toxic sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide. These emissions cause smog and acid rain and contribute to respiratory diseases like asthma. Communities near the refineries where the Keystone XL pipeline would terminate, many of them low-income and communities of color, already live with dangerously high levels of air pollution. The Keystone XL pipeline would further exacerbate the heavy burden of pollution and environmental injustices these communities confront.

            Tar sands oil is one of the dirtiest fuels on the Earth. Investing in tar sands oil now will delay investments in clean and safe alternatives to oil, such as better fuel economy requirements, plug-in electric cars fueled by solar power, and smart growth and public transportation infrastructure that give Americans choices other than cars.

             Link

            The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

            by ybruti on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:07:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Refinery-related air emissions from tar (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ybruti

              sands synthetic crude processing will not be significantly different than refinery emissions associated with processing of heavy sour crude that most of the region's refineries already process.

              In addition, the toxicant contents of crude oil fed to a refinery are not the controlling factor on how much emissions occur from a refinery, since all such refinery emissions are under process and control technology requirements that independently reduce emissions.

            •  Also, this info from Bloomberg today: (0+ / 0-)
              Stopping the pipeline would mean continued discounted prices for Canadian crude, making it harder for producers to sell their commodity at a profit and potentially slowing oil-sands development.  Current discounts of almost $30 a barrel are “unsustainable,” Enbridge Inc. (ENB)’s Chief Executive Officer Al Monaco said yesterday ... “If we can’t attract world prices, then we will ultimately curb energy development.”

              Canadian heavy-crude prices have plummeted relative to U.S. and international benchmarks because a lack of export capacity has created a glut in supplies. Western Canada Select, a blend refined from oil-sands bitumen, has fallen 23 percent during the past six months...
              Link

              Despite the current "lack of export capacity," oil companies are expected to invest about $22.3 billion this year to develop Alberta’s bitumen reserves, little changed from 2012. Link

              The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

              by ybruti on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:47:20 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  comment period starts tomorrow and runs 45 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, cotterperson

        days.

        oh, thanks for using our retweet spread the word message.

        "It is in the shelter of each other that people live." Irish Proverb

        by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 07:29:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Those comments will go straight into the ether. nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Victor Ward, RFK Lives
    •  we're doing a comment blogathon later (4+ / 0-)

      this month with templates that readers can tweak.

      the comment period has not officially opened yet. notice will not be posted until tomorrow.

      "It is in the shelter of each other that people live." Irish Proverb

      by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 07:27:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Friends Committee on National Legislation (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MJ via Chicago, cotterperson, elwior

        said on March 6:

        this is a draft report that is now subject to public comments and further review. Please consider providing your comments to the State Department at keystonecomments@state.gov
        Link

        The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

        by ybruti on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:53:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Done! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, ybruti
      It is incomprehensible that the United States government would take such great risks for something that is NOT in our national interest, but strictly in the interests of private corporations only.

      Why was the report written by companies with a conflict of interest?? No lessons learned from the previous study by a company that works with Transcanada?

      The risks posed by this gargantuan pipeline are unacceptable, wrong for America.

      Say "No" to this unacceptable study by private interests. Protect our land. Protect our water. Protect our air.

      Stop this!

      "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

      by cotterperson on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:27:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is a huge problem from top to bottom (5+ / 0-)

    in this country - another example is that ObamaCare was in part shaped by medical professionals.

    WTF!@?@?

  •  This needs to be on the wreck list. (5+ / 0-)
  •  Never saw that coming...... (6+ / 0-)

    GomerPyle

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:02:59 AM PST

  •  Action: submit comments (7+ / 0-)

    I haven't read the SEIS, but law requires State to take a "hard look" and not ignore important aspects.   Submit comments with as many factual criticisms as you can. Cite as many credible studies and information sources as you can

    If the SEIS can be shown to be of poor quality, it can be thrown out in court

    Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

    by Mindful Nature on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:15:31 AM PST

    •  Here is a link to the SEIS (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ybruti, joanneleon, elwior

      The documents can be found here. Among points to consider beyond climate impacts, the lack of any coherent justification for need beyond supplying Gulf Coast refineries.

      As explained in detail in Section 1.4, Market Analysis, there is existing demand by Gulf Coast area refiners for stable sources of crude oil. Refiners in the Gulf Coast area process crude oil with a wide range of qualities, from light sweet (low sulfur content) to heavy sour (higher sulfur content). Those refiners generally have access to a wide variety of crude oils through an extensive pipeline network for delivering domestic crude oils as well as waterborne imports from countries around the world
      .

      The whole rationale for the pipeline boils down to the Gulf Coast refineries can handle and want more heavy oil.

      Be radical in your compassion.

      by DWG on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 07:51:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Reading this (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Agathena, marina, DWG, elwior, Words In Action

    And subsequent comments here, I gather that the oil industry gets a seat at the table to advise the state dept. on policy. while the citizenry gets to submit comments via email.

    The system is rigged. Democracy is an illusion.

  •  All they need to do is watch this video (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon, elwior, Words In Action

    Caution, it might make you weep.

    Could someone send this video to the State Department?

    Our government is using radio, tv, newspaper to advertise the Tar Sands with our tax money.

  •  Boys and Girls, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Words In Action

    This is how fascism works in the 21st century. This is an illustration of the marriage between big government and big business.

  •  Where is John Kerry? (7+ / 0-)

    Bitterly, I recall his early concession to Bush in Ohio, when election regularities were being reported hour-by-hour. Did he give up on this early, too?

    From Jan. 25, 2013:

    InsideClimateNews.org -- Sen. John Kerry made it clear Thursday that he will play a pivotal role in deciding the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline if he is confirmed as secretary of state.

    “I’ll make the appropriate judgments about it,” he said, referring to the State Department’s ongoing review of the 1,200-mile tar sands oil pipeline. “There are specific standards that have to be met with respect to that review, and I’m going to review those standards and make sure they’re complete.”

    Kerry made his remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing on his nomination for the post. He was responding to a question from Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat and longtime supporter of environmental causes, who asked how Kerry would ensure that the Keystone XL decision “takes into consideration the potential impacts of the pipeline on water and air quality and mitigates any increases in the carbon pollution issue.”

    In his opening statement to the committee, Kerry also described climate change as one of the “life threatening issues” that defines American foreign policy.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/...

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 07:01:37 AM PST

    •  I feel pretty certain (4+ / 0-)

      that since Kerry has aspired to this job for a long time, there is not much chance that he would stand up to the administration on this.  I suspect that the person who appointed him was sure that he'd toe the line when he offered him the job. In fact, it might have been a requirement.  

      Just speculation.  And common sense, IMHO. I don't believe for one minute that Kerry himself has any say in this.  He will follow orders.  Our only chance of stopping KXL is if the president and his advisors are against it.  And it doesn't look that way.  The latest evidence of that was golfing with the oil and gas (and pipeline business) guys while 50K KXL protesters were at his house, perhaps even timing some big Tiger Woods news to coincide with the beginning of the march.  As far as I know, there was never any acknowledgment or response to said protesters from the president either.


      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:33:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  the election integrity people in OH on Kerry (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, elwior, Words In Action

      they thought that he was more concerned with his future than to get to the bottom of what happened in the election in 2004.

      The election was stolen.

      The computers were crashed and when they came up the trends changed.

      Election integrity is an insiders game.

      I have only read one book on this and have 4 more to read.

      Here on DK, one gets in trouble for bringing up election integrity.

      Bob Fritakis, one of the activists who writes about these issues, and is hands on tracking things, says voting is simple.

      There are counts at offices then tallies for the 88 counties. This is a simple program. Why do the election machines have over 2 million lines of code? Anything can be hidden in there.

      Enough of that.

      Kerry folded too early and didn't push the issue to get to the bottom of what happened. He could have and then we wouldn't be still in the dark as much as we are.

  •  Cue up the predictable and impassioned (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Words In Action

    defenses of such practices by the unquestioning defenders of the status quo, to be quickly followed by a series of diaries mocking those who would question the honor and good faith of our leaders both elected and appointed, especially those playing for the blue team, posing the inevitable and formidable question:

    "Would you have preferred John Bolton?"

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 07:05:39 AM PST

  •  I would have expected this from the Bush Admin (5+ / 0-)

    but not from Obama's.

    Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

    by bear83 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 07:19:33 AM PST

  •  brad johnson (5+ / 0-)

    says they didn't just shape it, they wrote it.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 07:45:29 AM PST

  •  Corrupt. Top to bottom. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Words In Action

    I don't think we'll ever be rid of the oil barons who control our lives more than we know.

  •  TransCanada wrote part of the report (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, DWG, Words In Action

    Parts of ‘State Dept.’ Keystone XL Report Actually Written by TransCanada Contractor

    The State Department’s “don’t worry” environmental impact statement for the proposed Keystone XL tarsands pipeline, released late Friday afternoon, was written not by government officials but by a private company in the pay of the pipeline’s owner. The “sustainability consultancy” Environmental Resources Management (ERM) was paid an undisclosed amount under contract to TransCanada to write the statement, which is now an official government document.  The statement estimates, and then dismisses, the pipeline’s massive carbon footprint and other environmental impacts, because, it asserts, the mining and burning of the tar sands is unstoppable.
    http://www.commondreams.org/...

    Post above this is "Corrupt. Top To Bottom"

    What if the bottom fell out of the marketplace of corruption? What a stupid joke attempt! Need something because things getting worse at accelerated rate.

  •  The term "wholly owned subsidiary" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DWG, elwior, Words In Action

    ..comes to mind.

    Governments needs to get the OK from Globocorp before making any decisions that might affect profitability or the bottom-line.

    Chain of command.

    Input is one thing, stupid is another

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:25:27 AM PST

  •  Outrage at the content, not the contract, please (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DWG

    While I share everyone's frustration about the Environmental Impact Report in question, I want to point out that there is NO scandal here about who paid for ERMs work. It is common practice, and consistent with law and regulations, for a project proponent to pay for a contractor to prepare an EIR, and for EPA to oversee that process.

    I think we all would wish for more independence, but we also all want the person/corporation proposing a project to PAY for the cost of conducting an impact assessment. So the way it is done in the US now is not ideal, but it is the law of the land. Now let's get on with yelling about the CONTENT of that EIR!

    The very right to vote imposes on me the duty to instruct myself in public affairs, however little influence my voice may have in them - Jean Jacques Rousseau

    by Dr Envirocrat on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 12:09:57 PM PST

    •  I agree up to a point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action

      Consultants are par for the course. However, those relationships should be disclosed. If you have to redact details on things that have no business being classified, then something is very wrong.

      Given the sensitivity of the issues, the failure to bring in environmental scientists with a background in greenhouse gas emissions to evaluate impacts is problematic. The person at ERM who handles this issue, Ken Weiss, has no relevant background. His stock in trade has been working with industry to address Clean Air Act compliance. He wrote a paper in 2009 that warned industry about mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reporting and advocated opposition.

      I am all for making the TransCanada pay for the cost of the assessments. The thing I object to is that the entire EIS was produced by consulting firms with close ties to the oil industry in assessing impact on greenhouse gas emissions. The product is untrustworthy.

      Unless the folks at State have their head up their butt, they had to understand the choice of consultants in producing this EIS would be a lightning rod, particularly given the controversy over 2011 version.

      The whole process so far has been embarrassing. State trots out the announcement on a Friday afternoon at 5. The product is tripe, claiming that the pipeline will have no impact on the rate of tar sands development contradicts statements in the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers own assessments. Then we find out that consulting firms that produced the background, if not the actual content, had close ties to the oil industry. I cannot look at that record and think anything other than the administration made the decision long ago, delayed the final approval until after the route was tweaked to please Nebraska, and kicked it past the election to avoid irritating progressives.

      The US has been an obstacle to progress on climate change for some time. We refused to participate in Kyoto. We have not made any serious efforts to reduce our emissions beyond raising CAFE standards and pushing renewables closer to 10% of generation capacity. The decision to approve the tar sands pipeline system raises further doubt about intent to live up to even the modest commitments made in Copenhagen.

      Be radical in your compassion.

      by DWG on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 01:07:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  While noting the conflicting interests of the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, Words In Action

    consultants preparing the Keystone XL Pipeline EIS is important for making arguments to the public about the credibility Transcanada and other pipeline sponsors and for general campaign awareness.....members of the public should not be the audience you  should be thinking about when you are preparing your comments on the Keystone XL Pipeline.....focus on the decision-makers at State and in the presidential executive office.

    To be maximally effective, your Keystone Pipeline XL comments about the EIS should primarily and overwhelmingly focus on three specific advocacy problems:

    1.   The 'national interest' decision criteria for Presidential Permit issuance required for a pipeline crossing the U.S./Canada border.

    2.   Whether the pipeline itself properly serves the public convenience and necessity.

    3.  Whether the Draft EIS is a proper and accurate depiction of significant environmental impacts from construction and operation of the pipeline.

    If you make every word of your comment support these three specific advocacy frameworks, you will make your comments far more effective than if you do not focus in this manner.

    Finally, make sure that any issue that you know you intend to litigate after EIS approval and/or permit issuance.....make sure you fully brief each such fact issue
    in your comments.

    •  Could you put this in a diary for tomorrow (0+ / 0-)

      when people are actually putting their comments together? Please?

      I think that would be helpful.

      Obama, Emanuel, Geithner, Summers, Holder, Breuer. With pragmatism stacked that deep is it any wonder that justice on Wall St., the 99% and the just Wall demise of supply-side economics had a chance? We were robbed, and not just by the banksters.

      by Words In Action on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:02:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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