skip to main content

→ Top Stories:
Clean Power plan
Safe Chemicals

Frances Beinecke’s Blog

One More Reason to Oppose Keystone XL Pipeline: Questions about State Department Handling of Review

Frances Beinecke

Posted October 28, 2011

, , , , , , , , , ,
Share | | |

Today I joined several environmental leaders in calling for the State Department to conduct an investigation into the department’s handling of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. More than a dozen members of Congress also requested an inquiry into potential conflicts of interest.

Our colleagues at Friends of the Earth examined relevant documents and found that TransCanada, the company behind Keystone XL, was allowed to screen the companies bidding to do the project’s environmental impact study; the company that was chosen listed TransCanada as a “major client.” It also does business for many of the same oil companies that stand to benefit from the pipeline.

Meanwhile, State Department officials coached TransCanada on messaging—and seemed to be in cahoots with them on skirting safety protections.  From the start, they have shown a disposition towards the pipeline proponents at the expense of public – exemplified by the Secretary’s comments a year ago that she was “inclined” to approve it. 

The Keystone XL pipeline is a massive, destructive proposal and the more we learn about it, the more objections we have. Now those concerned about integrity in government are joining the many other Americans opposed to this dangerous project.

Citizens alarmed by climate change do not want the Keystone XL pipeline to lock America into decades of one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuels on the planet.

Farmers, ranchers, and businesspeople living along Keystone XL’s route do not want to put their communities, rangeland, and water supply at risk of pipeline eruptions.

And national security experts are speaking out about the danger of deepening America’s fossil fuel addiction with tar sands oil. Retired Army Brigadier General Steven M. Anderson wrote a powerful piece in The Hill that the pipeline the “will comfort our enemies.” He refutes TransCanada’s claims that the pipeline will enhance America’s national security and says:

This pipeline would move dirty oil from Canada to refineries in Texas and would set back our renewable energy efforts for at least two decades, much to our enemies’ delight. 

Whose assessment of national security would you believe: The foreign oil company that stands to profit by exporting tar sands oil to Asia and Europe? Or the American general who served as the military’s senior logistician in Iraq in 2006 and 2007?

The drumbeat of opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline is growing louder and louder. Citizens are asking their elected officials about it at town hall meetings, and President Obama has been met with protests and questions from a range of constituents – from high donors to students as he travels the country.

You can make your protest heard by signing up for the November 6 event outside the White House here or by sending a message President Obama at

Share | | |


Alan GregoryOct 28 2011 11:42 AM

This boondoggle is yet another sign of the rampant industrialization of the American landscape. So much for natural, native lands.

David DeRemusOct 30 2011 10:43 AM

I have been a proud member of NRDC since 1998 and have signed countless petitions and made plenty of phone calls to elected officials to make a stand for the environment in an ongoing battle to stave off destruction of our remaining resources.

While I can say that working in this manner, especially when done with NRDC's tenacious determination in the courts, has yielded many substantial victories, those efforts alone were not enough to stop the first Keystone pipelines flow of toxin-laden diluted bitumen crude through our country. They have also failed to stop either the Enbridge pipeline or Exxon-Mobile's Silver Tip pipeline, both of which were designed and built to transport sweet crude, from carrying the heated corrosive and abrasive tar sands crude which has led to dozens of spills, including the 830,000 plus gallon spill in the Kalamazoo River (cleanup still ongoing) and the 42,000 gallon spill in the Yellowstone Rivers.

This is why I went to Washington, DC on August 20 and stood with 1,252 other Americans in open defiance of this travesty being forced upon us by the greed of the global oil corporations… and it is why I am returning to DC on November 6th.

Please join us in stopping the Keystone XL.

Comments are closed for this post.


Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit

Feeds: Frances Beinecke’s blog

Feeds: Stay Plugged In