Twenty members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asking her to reject the Keystone XL pipeline on the grounds that the approval process has been tainted by conflicts of interest. The legislators are worried about reports that the State Department hired a TransCanada-affiliated firm to do the pipeline's environmental evaluation. "These relationships alarmingly suggest that the process may not have been objective," they write, "and this decision is too important to be clouded by even the appearance of impropriety."

Just to refresh, contractor Cardno Entrix said the pipeline will have "limited" effects on the environment. But Cardno also considers TransCanada a major client, a fact that the State Department seems to have glossed over. TransCanada even paid the company for assessing Keystone XL's environmental impact. The State Department called the shots for the assessment, supposedly, but the fact that they hired a TransCanada client in the first place raises some doubts about who's pulling the strings.

At least, it raises doubts for these 20 lawmakers, led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). In the letter, they say that an environmental impact report with even the possibility of corruption is unacceptable, and they urge the State Department to "find the proposed route not in the national interest."


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