State Department rejects FOIA on Keystone XL pipeline

Posted on: January 13th, 2011 by Melissa No Comments

The U.S. State Department is hiding emails between Sec. of State Hillary Clinton’s office and her former high-ranking campaign official who is now the chief lobbyist for the Keystone XL pipeline project, rejecting a Freedom of Information Act request from the Friends of the Earth seeking to see those emails.

Paul Elliott is the lead Washington, D.C. lobbyist for TransCanada, the company aiming to build the pipeline. He was also the national deputy director of Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008. Environmental groups have asked Clinton to recuse herself from making the decision on whether to green light the pipeline as a result, which has been refused.

Marcie Keever, legal director for Friends of the Earth, called the rejection of their FOIA request an “evasive maneuver.”

“We do not believe that the State Department has legitimate legal grounds to deny our FOIA request, and assert that the agency is ignoring its own written guidance regarding FOIA requests and the release of public information,” said Keever. “This is the type of delay tactic we would have expected from the Bush administration, not the Obama administration, which has touted its efforts to usher in a new era of transparency in government, including elevated standards in dealing with lobbyists.”

Friends of the Earth has a website up about the Keystone XL pipeline project.

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