State Dept. Cozy With Pipeline Developer

Nati Harnik / FILE / AP Photo

In this Sept. 21, 2010 photo, an unidentified protester who is opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline because of environmental reasons, carries signs in Omaha, Neb. TransCanada's second pipeline, the $7 billion Keystone XL, is planned to carry crude oil from tar sands near Hardisty, Alberta to the Gulf Coast is now delayed indefinitely, with little official explanation.

While charged with reviewing the environmental impact of a controversial pipeline from Canada’s oil sands to the Gulf Coast, U.S. State Department officials had a cozy, collaborative relationship with TransCanada, the proposed pipeline’s developer. Emails obtained by environmental group Friends of the Earth revealed that one senior U.S. official scored invitations to Fourth of July parties for TransCanada executives, shared information with them about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s meetings, and cheered on their bid for the pipeline’s approval. The State Department is tasked with determining if the pipeline is in the “national interest,” and has said it would have “limited” environmental impact. But the EPA and environmental activists have assailed the initial review as inadequate, and oppose the pipeline because extracting from oil sands causes heavy emissions and destroys pristine forests.