State Dept. Cozy With Pipeline Developer

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.