If you were reading or listening to the news this week, you might have heard about the State Department’s environmental impact report on the Keystone XL pipeline. If so, you probably think it cleared the way for the pipeline to go forward. At least,that’s what most of the media seemed to think.
But the reality is more complicated than that. In fact, while it contained language cheered by proponents of the pipeline, the report also raised some real questions that environmentalists will be using as ammunition in the continuing fight over whether Keystone XL will be built. John Cushman discusses what the report does and doesn’t say and why the fight to stop Keystone XL is so important.
The State Department’s EIS, it turns out, “relied heavily” on studies funded by Alberta, Canada government agencies and carried out by Jacobs Consultancy, a subsidiary of a major tar sands developer, as Cushman reported several days after his interview with WV:
The Jacobs Consultancy is a subsidiary of Jacobs Engineering, a giant natural resources development company with extensive operations in Alberta’s tar sands fields. The engineering company has worked on dozens of major projects in the region over the years. Its most recent contract, with Canadian oil sands leader Suncor, was announced in January.
“The Alberta Oil Sands are a very important component of our business,” the parent company said in late 2011, announcing seven new contracts in the region. “Jacobs has a strong history in the area, and we are pleased to support our clients in these initiatives.”
A journalist in Washington since the mid 70s, Cushman covered the EPA for the New York Times and now works with Inside Climate News, the online news site that won a Pulitzer Prize last year for its report,”The Dilbit Disaster,” an investigation into the million-gallon spill of Canadian tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River in 2010.