Friends of the Earth

State Department Refuses to Release Information on Tar Sands Oil Pipeline

The U.S. State Department notified a coalition of environmental groups last week that it has denied their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for correspondence between the agency and a former presidential campaign staffer of Hillary Clinton’s, who, in his new role as oil industry lobbyist, is seeking Secretary of State Clinton’s approval for a tar sands oil pipeline.

The coalition, including Friends of the Earth, the Center for International Environmental Law, and Corporate Ethics International submitted a FOIA request in December targeted at Paul Elliott, now a lead lobbyist for TransCanada, the company aiming to build the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline that would bring 900,000 barrels a day of dirty tar sands over 2,000 miles through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, and a further 1,661 miles to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

The State Department denied the FOIA request on the grounds that the groups had not “reasonably described the records [they sought] in a way that someone familiar with Department records and programs could locate them” and cited the groups’ request for a waiver on the fees associated with the processing of the FOIA as reason to deny their request.

Marcie Keever, legal director for Friends of the Earth argues that the State Department did not have legitimate legal grounds to deny the FOIA request.

Groups Question Clinton Ties to Oil Lobby & Impact on State Department Keystone Tar Sands Pipeline Decision

A coalition of organizations composed of Friends of the Earth, the Center for International Environmental Law, and Corporate Ethics International submitted a Freedom of Information Act request [PDF] this week asking for all communications between the agency and a former presidential campaign manager for Hillary Clinton.

Paul Elliot, the lobbyist in question, served as national deputy director and chief of staff for delegate selection for Clinton’s Presidential campaign committee.  He’s now a lobbyist for TransCanada, the company aiming to build the controversial 2,151 mile-long Keystone XL Pipeline.  

The above organizations are concerned about how the relationship between Secretary of State Clinton and Elliot may impact the approval process for the controversial tar sands pipeline.  For the coalition of watchdog organizations, this is just the latest in a series of developments that cast doubt on whether the State Department is fulfilling its obligations to conduct an exhaustive and transparent review of the environmental and public health dangers of the proposed pipeline.

75 Groups from Canada, US and Europe Call for End to Toxic Tar Sands Tailings

Photo courtesy of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council

75 groups from across Canada, the U.S. and Europe have signed a petition calling on the federal and Alberta governments to immediately phase out existing tailings lakes and deny any proposed project that would create new tailings lakes. Greenpeace issued the call-out last week, and 45 groups across Canada, including 23 Alberta-based groups, six U.S. groups, and one group from Europe have signed on to support a moratorium on destructive tar sands practices.  To date, there have been over 600 signatories to the petition.  

Greenpeace’s petition comes as European members of Parliament (MEPs) wrapped up their tour of the Alberta tar sands late last week.  European members of Parliament were visiting to weigh in on the controversial dirty crude and were to report back on their findings regarding fuel legislation that could inhibit or impact the use of tar sands products. At stake is possible legislation and restriction on the importation of the dirty crude, or the labeling of it as “dirty” or “high carbon”.

New Report Urges U.S. To Avoid Reliance on International Carbon Offsets

Friends of the Earth U.S. released a new report today calling the use of international carbon offsets a “dangerous distraction” that could lead to climate disaster if relied upon too heavily as the U.S. Senate returns to debate energy and climate policy later this month. 

Offsets are a centerpiece of the Waxman-Markey energy bill that passed the House of Representatives in June, and are likely to appear in the Senate version as well.

The Friends of the Earth report warns that the U.S. must avoid the use of international carbon offsets, in which U.S. industries can skip making costly investments to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions by sending money overseas for clean energy projects in developing countries.  The theory is that these international investments will translate into equivalent reductions at the fraction of the price it would cost to change our ways here at home. 

Landmark Settlement Makes U.S. Agencies Acknowledge Climate Change

Under the terms of a landmark settlement reached last Friday, U.S. financing agencies will no longer be able to ignore the climate change repercussions of their actions.

Close to seven years and several bruising court battles later, a coalition of environmental groups and eco-minded cities have succeeded in forcing the Export-Import Bank and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to do the unthinkable: acknowledge the reality of climate change and obey the law.

Massive Profits, High Gas Prices and $33 billion in Taxpayer Giveaways to Big Oil

Over the next 5 years oil companies will receive $33 billion in taxpayer funded giveaways.

According to the report set to be released tomorrow morning by the Friends of the Earth, (pdf) the $33 billion in taxpayer dollars will come to Big Oil through tax loopholes, royalty rollbacks and research and development subsidies.

Exxon Files

Brought to you by Friends of the Earth.

Green groups sue Canadian government over Kyoto targets

Foot-dragging over meeting the Kyoto protocol’s emissions targets could land the Conservatives in federal court. Two environmentalist groups have filed papers seeking quick action from the government under new legislation.

Court orders Bush administration to prepare global-warming documents

In a case brought by environmentalists, a U.S. court has ruled the White House broke the law by failing to prepare studies and plans for dealing with climate change, and ordered the administration to produce the required documents by early next year.

Climate Inaction Will Cost Trillions of Dollars

While the skeptics unanimously overstate the costs of climate protection, a new study calculates that the costs of climate inaction will cost the global economy trillions of dollars.

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