State Department vows fair process on pipelineWASHINGTON (AP) — With noisy protestors demonstrating nearby, a top State Department official insisted on Friday that a decision on whether a Canadian company can go forward with a plan to pipe oil from tar sands in western Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast will be fair and above board.
WASHINGTON (AP) — With noisy protestors demonstrating nearby, a top State Department official insisted on Friday that a decision on whether a Canadian company can go forward with a plan to pipe oil from tar sands in western Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast will be fair and above board.
Assistant Secretary of State Kerri-Ann Jones, of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, brushed back allegations from critics that the decision on the plan is tainted by a previous relationship between TransCanada executive Paul Elliott and Secretary of State Hilllary Rodham Clinton. Elliott was an aide on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
“Past relationships are not of importance,” Jones said.
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would go through South Dakota.
The environmental group Friends of the Earth released internal emails and other documents this week that it said demonstrate an overly cozy relationship between State Department officials and Elliott. TransCanada has also denied wrongdoing.
Jones said no decision’s been made on the plan, which would carry oil derived from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Houston and Port Arthur, Texas.
Outside Jones’ press conference in downtown Washington, activists protested the plan.
Wearing a nose ring and a Tshirt that read “Food not bombs,” environmental activist Spiro Voudouris, 26, came to the nation’s capital Friday, where there were multiple protests against TransCanada’s plan. He wandered over to a pro-pipeline event sponsored by the Laborers’ International Union of North America and engaged in a debate with Ira Orenstein, 63, an unemployed pipe fitter looking for a job.
“I want to help the labor unions. The pipeline is not the way, I promise you,” Voudouris told Orenstein, who shook his head no.
Ted Glick, policy director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, speaks against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline during a Friday rally in Washington.