Lobbying efforts on behalf of TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline project show the U.S. State Department’s pro-industry bias, an environmental advocacy group said today.
Paul Elliott, a former deputy campaign manager for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, set up meetings on behalf of TransCanada executives, according to e-mails released today by Friends of the Earth, an advocacy group that opposes the pipeline. If approved, the pipeline would run from Alberta to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.
Elliott also notified department officials of an upcoming environmental protest, sent letters advocating for the project and offered TransCanada’s assistance to the State Department on international climate talks in Copenhagen, according to the e- mails.
The department, which is tasked with reviewing the pipeline proposal because it would cross an international border, is expected to issue a final ruling on the project before the end of the year. A final environmental impact statement released by the State Department in August found the pipeline poses “no significant impacts to most resources,” prompting environmental groups to say the review was flawed.
The e-mails show that Clinton’s staff “sought to help TransCanada get a rubber stamp,” Damon Moglen, climate and energy director at Friends of the Earth, said in a statement.
TransCanada’s efforts to speak to State Department officials are no different than the work of environmental advocates who have sought the same access to make their case, Terry Cunha, a spokesman for TransCanada, said in a telephone interview today.
Elliott was hired by the Calgary-based company in 2008 to help with its $2.9 billion acquisition of National Grid Plc.’s Ravenswood generating station, Cunha said. That deal was announced in March 2008, nine months before Clinton became Secretary of State.
Elliott and the State Department didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
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