Keystone XL Decision Delayed Again? Inspector General Pushes Report on ERM Scandals to January

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Did the Obama administration's decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline just get delayed again? Quite possibly, since the State Department Inspector General announced today that it has delayed until January the release of its review of the scandals surrounding Environmental Resources Management, Inc., the contractor chosen by TransCanada to perform State's Keystone XL environmental review. 

Although the State Department was evasive about whether the IG's announcement signals a delay in the administration's decision, it would seem odd for President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to decide on the fate of the KXL export pipeline without waiting for the results of this critical report.  

Bloomberg News and The Hill broke the news about the delay, and all signs point to the fact that State's “inquiry” has morphed into a thorough conflicts-of-interest investigation into ERM's financial ties to TransCanada and other scandals. 

Ever since the March 2013 release of the State Department's environmental impact statement, critics have pointed to ERM Group's historical ties to Big Tobacco, its green-lighting of controversial projects in Peru and the Caspian Sea, and its declaration that a tar sands refinery in Delaware made the air “cleaner,” among many other industry-friendly rulings.  

Worst of all, perhaps - and potentially in violation of federal law - ERM Group lied on its State Department contract, claiming it had no business ties to TransCanada and the tar sands industry. The facts showed otherwise. 

This latest development certainly raises the prospect of a further delay, if not another sign that the Keystone XL will be rejected by President Obama.   

Image credit: Kris Krug

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 This is ridiculous! More government rhetoric about relying on resources closer to home, and then stepping into the way to delay a good resource that would benefit all of North America. Keystone XL was to be a great equalizer in terms of foreign dependence, and it seems a small group of naysayers in regard to pipeline routes have the power to control an entire government structure, a president, and play with the livelihood of hundreds of millions of consumers. How sad the election is not this year.

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Dwannani's pained lament about those annoying 4 or 6 naysayers is not. Quite. Realistic.There are hundreds of thousands who think this is a bad idea (pump tar sands bitumen oil to the Gulf of Mexico for refining and EXPORT.)