On Friday, news outlets began reporting that, at the request of Friends of the Earth and the Checks and Balances Project, the State Department Office of Inspector General had “opened an inquiry into a possible conflict of interest” regarding State Department’s Draft Environment Impact Statement.
This scheme from opponents is nothing new. Remember, they tried it before in 2012 after State issued its previous draft environmental assessment. When the Office of the Inspector General looked into their accusations, opponents came up empty. As Politico reported on February 9, 2012:
There is no evidence of conflict of interest or bias in the State Department’s review of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, the department’s inspector general has found.
The department did not violate its role in providing unbiased oversight, and there is no evidence that communications between State Department officials, TransCanada, the Canadian government and both supporters and critics of the pipeline violated federal law, according to the IG report delivered to Capitol Hill Thursday and obtained by POLITICO.
As the Keystone XL decision has dragged on for nearly five years – and as support for the pipeline just continues to grow – opponents have resorted to recycling their old gimmicks in an effort to delay the process even longer. This is just the latest delay tactic in the opponents’ playbook.