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January 19, 2012

Obama State Department Stalling on Keystone XL FOIA Request

January 19, 2012
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For Immediate Release
January 19, 2012

WASHINGTON DC — The Institute for Energy Research reiterated today the need for openness and transparency in the Obama administration’s handling of the Keystone XL pipeline permit, which the President officially rejected yesterday after more than three years of administration review.

On November 18, 2011, IER filed an original Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the State Department seeking documents to uncover the truth about potential outside political pressure on the permit review process.  In light of the administration’s actions this week — and the State Department’s failure to comply with FOIA statues — IER sent a second letter to the State Department today.

“The recommendation by the State Department and the President’s subsequent denial warrant the strictest scrutiny by the American people,” IER Director of Regulatory Affairs Dan Simmons noted in the letter.  “These developments heighten the need to ensure that the Department’s actions over the course of its three-year evaluation of the Keystone XL pipeline permit were consistent, fair, and thorough.”

“IER is concerned that improper political influence has been exerted on the State Department . . . to delay the permit and ultimately reject it,” Simmons added.

Recently, the State Department granted a FOIA request from Friends of the Earth, a environmentalist organization that opposes the Keystone XL pipeline and supports the President’s denial of the permit.  IER’s letter notes the “apparent double standard” being employed by the Obama administration.

“The failure to comply with the law and respond in a timely and thorough manner to our FOIA request is especially troubling given the Department’s compliance with FOIA requests from other organizations that are more supportive of the President’s agenda . . . This apparent double standard is a clear violation of FOIA standards and provides evidence that the State Department’s actions on the Keystone XL pipeline have been politicized,” Simmons wrote.

To read IER’s full letter to the State Department, click here.
To read IER’s original FOIA request, click here.

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