Sen. Mike Johanns worries that recently released emails confirm the State Department has already decided to grant TransCanada a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
The environmental group, Friends of the Earth, obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Johanns says it reminds him of how Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement that she was inclined to grant the permit raised questions.
“No public hearings, the analysis wasn’t completed, the environmental impact statement was not done and she’s prejudging it,” Johanns says. “So, they backpedaled very, very quickly. Now, we see emails come out that really do establish a very, very close working relationship between the State Department and representatives of TransCanada.”
Johanns says the emails raise red flags about the State Department permit pipeline process. He says the emails will be used in any litigation over TransCanada’s plans to build the Keystone XL pipeline through the Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer.
“Having been a cabinet member (Secretary of Agriculture), I can tell you that this kind of information that now becomes a matter of the public record; the emails, the statement of the Secretary will not be helpful,” Johanns says. “It will cause a judge to think that this was somehow prejudged and they were just going through exercises to lead to the result of approving the permit and that won’t sit well in a federal court.”
Johanns supports the pipeline, but objects to the route proposed by TransCanada.