Inspector General Launches Investigation Into Keystone XL Approval Process | In response to a congressional request, the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General has launched a review of the Keystone XL pipeline approval process. The State Department is tasked with conducting the environmental review of TransCanada’s proposed tar sands pipeline from Canada to Texas for a Presidential Permit decision. Beginning with the Bush administration, the process has been largely outsourced to a contractor chosen and paid for by TransCanada, with only a single staffer overseeing the work. Meanwhile, lobbyists with close ties to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have aggressively pushed for approval on behalf of the foreign oil company. The request for an investigation was made by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and eleven Democratic members of the House of Representatives.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), who was the only member of Congress to attend yesterday’s anti-Keystone rally outside the White House, responds: “The recent allegations of corruption and conflicts of interest are disconcerting, and I appreciate that the Office of Inspector General is investigating the State Department’s review process. As stated in a previous letter to the President, I ask that he withhold any final decision on the pipeline until the investigation is complete.”