Greens sue feds for Keystone docs

The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Obama administration on Tuesday to release documents surrounding the controversial Keystone XL pipeline

The green group filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and State Department for documents containing information on impact the $5.4 billion project would have on migratory birds and endangered species.


Roughly 10 months ago the environmental group filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Keystone's "migratory bird conservation plan" and data cited in the State Department's environmental review of the pipeline.

“It’s revealing that the agencies are doing their best to withhold critical information from the public on Keystone XL’s potential impacts to endangered species,” said Jared Margolis, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.

“There’s every reason to believe Keystone XL will have disastrous impacts on whooping cranes, piping plovers and other protected species. You can only assume that’s why they’re withholding these key documents -- to prevent us from fully assessing these impacts, or the agency’s claims to the contrary," Margolis added.

Environmentalists argue the pipeline, which would carry crude from oil sands in Alberta to Gulf refineries, would include hundreds of miles of new power lines that will cause dozens of new "collision hazards" for cranes.

"The public has a right to know the toll Keystone XL will have on endangered species,” Margolis said.

The State Department's final environmental review found that Keystone would not significantly harm the environment surrounding its route, and that it would not drastically contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

Greens remains skeptical of the report, claiming a conflict of interest was present between the company the State Department contracted to conduct the environmental analysis and Keystone pipeline developer TransCanada.

The Center for Biological Diversity said it found that at least 12 threatened and endangered species across four states could be subject to harm by the pipeline.