NextGen Climate Action to Engage Digital Community in Effort to Restart Conflicted Keystone Environmental Review

Environmental Resources Management lied to State Department about conflict of interest

Aug 02, 2013, 17:26 ET from NextGen Climate Action

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tom Steyer's NextGen Climate Action announced today that it will soon engage with the more than 200,000 members of the "We Love Our Land" Facebook community about the conduct of Environmental Resources Management (ERM), key State Department contractor. 

As reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, new research by Friends of the Earth and the Checks and Balances Project showed that ERM lied on its mandatory conflict of interest forms when it applied to write the critical Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

"The Keystone XL environmental review lost all credibility when ERM lied to taxpayers about what it was up to," says Tom Steyer, president of NextGen Climate Action. "ERM's hubris deprives the State Department and the public of the unbiased information they need. A large group of Americans will support Secretary Kerry if he insists on doing the review in a clean, straightforward way—this time, with an honest contractor."

ERM claimed on its forms that it had no direct or indirect relationship with businesses that could be affected by the pipeline. However, documents show the company worked for more than a dozen of the largest energy companies invested in Canadian tar sands. These included pipeline owner TransCanada, as well as ExxonMobil, Shell and Chevron. ERM is also a paying member of the oil industry's lobbying arm, the American Petroleum Institute.

In a recent speech on climate change solutions, President Obama hinged the fate of the increasingly controversial Keystone pipeline squarely on the question of whether developing the world's dirtiest source of energy could somehow be made carbon neutral. The only document to support such a notion is ERM's Environmental Impact Statement.

Steyer and NextGen Climate Action launched "We Love Our Land" in June 2013 out of concern that the pipeline was a 40-year investment to shipping the world's dirtiest oil to economic competitors such as China. The Pipeline's exact route isn't known to the State Department, which is charged with evaluating the Pipeline's risk to the environment. However, the project's path will unavoidably take it through irreplaceable farmlands, near drinking water sources and through communities with little to no ability to cope with disastrous spills – such as the one in Mayflower, Arkansas.

SOURCE NextGen Climate Action