The internal watchdog at the State Department released an audit today clearing -- the State Department -- of any impropriety in reviewing the permit for the Keystone Pipeline project. Whew! Well, that's a relief! Wait...
In a report released to Congress, the department's inspector general said it found no evidence that State Department employees were improperly influenced by the company asking to build the pipeline, TransCanada, when they selected the third-party contractor to conduct the environmental analysis, as opponents of the project had charged. The inspector general also concluded that no conflict of interest existed between the contractor, Cardno Entrix, and the State Department, TransCanada and other federal agencies the company had worked for. ...
Two lawmakers, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., had asked for the internal probe and pressed President Barack Obama to delay any decision on the pipeline until it was complete. But that demand became moot when Obama, at the suggestion of the State Department, rejected the pipeline in January. Republicans had attempted to force his hand to get an approval, and environmentalists had waged protests to block the $7 billion project.
The point is, indeed, a moot one, since the Keystone Pipeline has been put off yet again (as well as the wealth, jobs, and free trade that would come with its construction), and Canada surely isn't going to hold off on profiting from their resources just for funsies:
The development came as China and Canada declared Thursday that bilateral relations have reached "a new level" following a series of multibillion-dollar trade and business agreements to ship additional Canadian petroleum, uranium and other products to the Asian superpower.
The two countries have agreed that a joint economic study being conducted will be completed by May 2012, "after which Canada and China will proceed to exploratory discussions on deepening trade and economic relations."
China's political leaders say they're interested in exploring the feasibility of a full free-trade agreement. But Canadian officials accompanying Harper weren't going that far just yet, stressing instead that the ultimate goal is to deepen trade in key markets.
So, not only are we declining on Canada's oil, but we're also encouraging a relationship in which China can acquire more uranium -- because uranium is good for all kinds of things, like peaceful energy production, right?