"WASHINGTON — A State Department contractor who prepared an environmental analysis of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline did not violate conflict of interest rules, even though the contractor had previously done work for TransCanada, the company seeking to build pipeline, a State Department inspector general’s investigation concluded on Wednesday."
"The results of the investigation could further pave the way for the Obama administration to approve the 1,700-mile, $5.4 billion pipeline, which would move heavily polluting oil from Canada’s Alberta tar sands to the United States’ Gulf Coast. The pipeline has become a critical cause among environmental activists, who view it as a symbol of President Obama’s commitment to fight climate change. They have rallied, protested and been arrested by the thousands in their quest to urge him to deny the project.
The inspector general’s report comes after a State Department environmental review this month concluded that construction of the pipeline was unlikely to significantly increase the rate of carbon pollution into the atmosphere because most future economic outlines project that the tar sands oil will be extracted and transported to market whether or not the Keystone pipeline is built."