Lawsuit Seeks Documents Related to Hillary Clinton and Pipeline Lobbyist

Monday, May 23, 2011
Environmentalists are suing the State Department to force the release of documents that might reveal communications between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and an oil company lobbyist over a controversial pipeline project.
 
Friends of the Earth, Corporate Ethics International, and The Center for International Environmental Law filed a lawsuit in federal court after the State Department refused to fulfill the groups’ Freedom of Information Act request regarding the Keystone XL pipeline proposal. That project, which involves the building of nearly 2,000 miles of pipeline from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico for the transport of tar sands oil, requires a presidential permit from the State Department.
 
Assisting Keystone XL, the pipeline builder, is lobbyist Paul Elliott, who previously worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign as national deputy director and chief of staff for delegate selection. Last year, Clinton publicly said she was “inclined to” to approve the project—at a time when the State Department had not yet completed its environmental impact statement or finished reviewing public comments about the plan, leading environmentalist to suspect she had made up her mind with the help of Elliott.
 
On Monday, the House Energy and Power Subcommittee will hold a hearing to discuss a bill that would allow the pipeline project to go forward.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
Friends of the Earth et al. v. State Department (U.S. District Court, Northern California) (pdf)

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