Rep. Raul Grijalva said Tuesday that the Government Accountability Office will audit of State Department procedures for selecting contractors and ensuring the credibility of environmental impact statements following allegations that the firm hired to review the proposed Keystone XL pipeline had a conflict of interest.
“We’re asking the Government Accountability Office to look into all these facets within the State Department, look at the conflict issue “¦ nothing should be glossed over; nothing should be ignored,” Grijalva said Tuesday.
The Arizona Democrat sent a letter on Tuesday requesting the audit. A GAO spokesman said that the letter has been received, but the office has not yet reached a final decision on whether or not to move forward with the review.
The State Department’s Office of Inspector General is already conducting an inquiry into a potential conflict of interest between Environmental Resources Management, the firm hired by State to carry out the environmental-impact assessment for Keystone, and TransCanada, the company planning to build the pipeline.
But Grijalva said a third-party investigation is necessary to ensure accountability.
“We have a tainted product on our hands,” Grijalva said. “A decision made on that information is not only going to be questioned but its credibility is going to be zero.”
A final environmental-impact statement for the project was released last month. It concluded that construction of the pipeline would have a negligible impact on carbon emissions.
President Obama has said he will only approve the pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada’s tar sands to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast, if it does not significantly add to atmospheric levels of carbon.
What We're Following See More »
"Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court has stepped back from public life. ...She last made public appearances over two years ago. This summer she turned over an office she had kept at the Supreme Court to the court’s most recently retired justice, Anthony Kennedy. Her son Jay O’Connor said in a telephone interview that his mother began to have challenges with her short-term memory. That made some public events more difficult. He says she now stays close to her Phoenix home."
"The Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times. The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined 'on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.' The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with."
"Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them. State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed."
"Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Mueller’s team has recently questioned witnesses about the activities of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, including his contacts with WikiLeaks, and has obtained telephone records, according to the people familiar with the matter."