By: FOE US- Kelly Trout and Alex Moore
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A report released today by Friends of the Earth reveals the nefarious business practices of TransCanada Pipelines, whose controversial proposal to pump tar sands oil across the American Midwest is currently under review by the Obama administration.
Dirty Business: How TransCanada Pipelines bullies farmers, manipulates oil markets, threatens fresh water and skimps on safety in the United States documents underhanded and risky tactics employed by TransCanada in pursuing the Keystone XL tar sands oil project. These dirty practices include threatening U.S. farmers and ranchers along the proposed route of the pipeline, dodging safety concerns, and scheming to manipulate U.S. oil markets to drive up corporate profits. TransCanada has done all this while currying political influence behind the scenes to get approval of the pipeline.
"TransCanada has shown a pattern of abuse and deception," concluded Alex Moore, dirty fuels campaigner at Friends of the Earth and a co-author of the report. "The environmental dangers of this dirty oil project-from increasing air pollution to contaminating drinking water supplies-were alarming enough. Now Americans learn TransCanada appears more interested in trying to mislead the U.S. government and intimidate and seize land belonging to farmers than it is in answering serious questions about safety."
TransCanada's business practices are facing increasing scrutiny in Congress. Two weeks earlier, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) called for a Federal Trade Commission investigation into the company's efforts to manipulate U.S. oil markets.
TransCanada's exploits have already made the company infamous in rural areas that would be crossed by the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. In Nebraska, "Stop the TransCanada Pipeline" lawn signs are a common sight along its planned route. Typically oil-friendly East Texas has become a hotbed of resistance, with citizens organizing a coalition and hotline to fight the pipeline and share information about company abuse. Dozens of landowners have also taken their fight against TransCanada to the courts.
"While TransCanada is bullying its way through Middle America, it seems to think it can get its way with the Obama administration by hiring high-priced insider lobbyists and hiding its goal of manipulating oil prices. I hope President Obama and Secretary Clinton will not be so gullible. They should reject this unnecessary and dangerous pipeline," added Moore.
Recent developments make this closer look at TransCanada appropriate. Earlier this month, the Department of State released a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and a public comment period will end June 6. Local communities have asked the State Department to extend the comment period and to hold public hearings so they can review the agency's findings and share their experiences dealing with TransCanada.
Friends of the Earth is fighting to defend the environment and create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.