Looking for Truth on Keystone XL

There’s an old saying that truth will out. Eventually. Given enough time. Someday, we can expect we’ll get the real story.

Which implies that for now, we probably aren’t.

Nearly two years ago, I pointed out the flawed reporting regarding the Keystone XL pipeline and its associated environmental impact statement. Specifically, I noted that

the State Department did not prepare the environmental impact statement. If you read the department’s web page on the project, you will see that they farmed out the EIS to Environmental Resources Management (ERM), a multinational environmental “consulting” firm.

I took issue not only with how the journalist was reporting the story, but also with the fact that, all too often, our government places undue confidence in private firms to conduct its business.

Art: iStock

Art: iStock

It now appears that Bloomberg Businessweek agrees with me.

In an article dated Jan. 23, Brad Wieners lays bare the clear case for ERM’s conflict of interest in being awarded the job of doing the environmental review for the Keystone XL pipeline. He states that, at the very least, there is not enough separation between the reviewer and the reviewee:

The State Department review process has a built-in conflict of interest, because contractors like ERM are paid for by the applicant—in this case, TransCanada, ERM’s former client.

Wieners’ article goes into much more depth than I could hope to get on my limited time and budget, but we’ve come to the same conclusion.

Which is refreshing.

Often, through all the shouting, I feel as if I’m off in a corner talking to myself. I’d rather feel like a contributor to a more rational conversation, one that leads in the general direction of truth.


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