For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Erin Jensen

Contract for Keystone XL Review Was Between TransCanada and Cardno Entrix, State Department Documents Confirm

Revelation adds to concerns over conflicts of interest

WASHINGTON - Under pressure from Friends of the Earth, the State Department today made public the third-party contract and conflict of interest documents for the environmental review of the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. The documents confirm long-held suspicions that the contract was brokered between TransCanada, the Canadian oil firm applying for the pipeline permit, and Cardno Entrix, an environmental consulting firm.

Friends of the Earth sent a letter to the State Department last month calling for immediate release of the contract after the department continued to stonewall, indicating that it would reject Friends of the Earth's Freedom of Information Act request for the contracts. A little over a month earlier, the State Department acknowledged it had a list of "over six pages of contracts" consistent with Friends of the Earth's FOIA request. The documents were finally released with heavy redactions to Friends of the Earth on Wednesday afternoon following the threat of legal action.

Damon Moglen, climate and energy director at Friends of the Earth, had the following statement in response:

"The State Department has fought tooth and nail to keep these documents from the public, and now it's clear why: they demonstrate that the contract for the environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline was negotiated between TransCanada and Cardno Entrix, a clear conflict of interest. It appears that the State Department put TransCanada in the driver's seat to broker the review of Keystone XL. This impropriety alone should disqualify the environmental impact statement for the project.

"Equally alarming is the prevalence of redactions in the documents. The public has the right to know the conditions under which the environmental review of a pipeline that would have serious impacts on our land, water, health and climate was brokered — especially when those conditions resulted in a flawed, biased review. It certainly begs the question: what is the State Department hiding?

"What's more, it appears that there are discrepancies in the version of the contract provided to Friends of the Earth and the version made public on the State Department's website. We will closely dissect both documents to ensure the public has access to all the information available on the review of this controversial project."

The documents released today by the State Department are available at:


This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

Share This Article

More in: