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Emails show State dept. coached TransCanada on how to handle Keystone XL pipeline hearings

Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline have revealed the contents of emails between State Department officials and TransCanada, which owns the proposed pipeline, and say they indicate a cozy and unethical relationship.

Friends of the Earth filed a federal lawsuit after the State Department denied their Freedom of Information Act request for emails that went back and forth between that agency and Paul Elliott, a former deputy campaign manager for Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and now chief lobbyist for TransCanada.

FOE says those emails show that “officials at the State Department provided information about the agency’s internal thinking and coached TransCanada on what to say during the legally mandated environmental review process.”

The most troubling documents indicate that State Department officials sought to help TransCanada by providing information about State’s internal thinking and by coaching TransCanada on what to say as it responded to a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the oil company’s controversial tar sands pipeline…

In an email exchange from May 19, 2010, Elliott told Nora Toiv (a former campaign colleague who had become special assistant to Secretary Clinton’s chief of staff) that then-State Department Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs David Goldwyn gave TransCanada’s then-president and CEO Hal Kvisle “insight on what he’d like to see by way of on the record comment during this public comment period of this Keystone KXL draft environmental impact statement.” Elliott wrote: “We are working with our stakeholders, shippers and vendors to deliver on the insight David shared with us and to do so by the June 15 deadline.”

The State Department is set to decide on whether to approve the project in the next couple months.

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