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Delaware City environmental review results suspected fraudulent

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Environmental Resource Management, Inc. (ERM Group), the contractor that performed the environmental review for TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sand export pipeline, was also recently hired by a major Delaware City, Delaware refinery to study air quality around the plant.

Conducted in March, the study concluded that the air quality near the refinery is as good as, and in some cases better than, samples taken during the 2011 study before the refinery restart.

However, an independent air sample study conducted a mile away from the plant detected the cancer causing compound benzene at levels far above those by the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as soot and sulfur dioxide. Delaware City Environmental Coalition released their study in late May, just week’s before the ERM study was released. Results demonstrated an increase in local chemical, soot and sulfur levels after the opening of the Delaware city refinery, with at least three toxic pollutants exceeding some public health limits.

In light of these findings, both Friends of the Earth and Checks & Balances Project have now called for a full State Department Inspector General investigation into what they believe to have been a false claim on the part the ERM Group.

Conflict of interest

It has retrospectively been highlighted that the ERM Group is a dues paying member of the American Petroleum Institute (API), which has spent over US$ 22 million on lobbying regarding tar sands and Keystone XL since the pipeline was proposed in June 2008. This means that the ERM Group lied on the conflict of interest form that it submitted to the State Department before taking on the project.

The ERM Group’s report said that that the Alberta tar sands will get to the market with or without the Keystone XL pipeline, the tube’s northern half is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of tar sands development. Under this logic, Keystone XL won’t have a substantial impact on climate change.

Given ERM’s current ties to the Alaska Pipeline Project, the Delaware City refinery and the refinery’s direct relationship with the tar sands refining and marketing, a false claim may violate USC § 1001, a law which states that making a materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation to the executive, legislative or judicial branch of the Government of the United States is a crime punishable by up to five years in jail.

Edited from various sources by Emma McAleavey.

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