"State Department Watchdog Probes Keystone XL Review"

"Keystone XL pipeline is under scrutiny as State's inspector general probes conflict of interest charges surrounding a review of Keystone XL."

"The controversial Keystone XL approval process is back in the limelight, this time because of a probe into conflicts of interest.

The State Department's watchdog has opened an inquiry into whether the contractor the department hired to perform the environmental review of the Keystone XL oil pipeline had a conflict of interest. The charges are serious because the White House will use the State Department review to determine whether the pipeline will proceed. If the department is now investigating it's own review, it signals potential trouble ahead for the project.

The probe – which a State Department official stressed is a 'fact-finding' mission, not a criminal investigation – comes weeks after President Obama said he'd approve Keystone XL only if it did not 'significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.'"

David J. Unger reports for the Christian Science Monitor August 5, 2013.

Multiple news accounts did not mention the fact that the same office, State Department's Inspector General office, had already in 2011-12 investigated the same question -- whether contractors who conducted the KXL environmental study for State had conflicts of interest -- and failed to find what the evidence seems to indicate. Nor do they examine whether State's IG office might itself have a conflict of interest -- since it is essentially evaluating its own investigative performance.

SEE ALSO:

"Keystone XL Handled Well By State Department, Inspector General Says" (Politico: 2/9/2012)

"Special Review of the Keystone XL Pipeline Permit Process" (US State Department Office of Inspector General: February 2012)

"Inspector General Launches Investigation Into Keystone XL Approval Process" (Climate Progress: 11/7/2011)

"State Department Inspector General Investigating Keystone XL Contractor ERM's Conflicts of Interest" (DeSmogBlog)

"State Dept. Hid Contractor's Ties to Keystone XL Pipeline Company" (Mother Jones)

"‘State Department’ Keystone XL Report Actually Written By TransCanada Contractor " (Grist)

"Keystone Conflict: US State Dept Launches Inquiry Into Pipeline Environmental Report" (RT)

"State Department Inspector General Investigating Keystone XL Contractor ERM's Conflicts of Interest" (DeSmogBlog)

"Keystone XL Environmental Consultant ‘Lied’ About TransCanada Ties" (ENS)

Opinion: "Secretary Kerry, time for a fresh start on Keystone" (Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica in The Hill's Congress Blog)

"State Dept Contractor ERM Lied About TransCanada Ties, Another Fatal Flaw of Environmental Review" (DeSmogBlog)

Source: Christian Science Monitor, 08/06/2013