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Thursday, January 23, 2014

'Secret dealing'? Emails show cozy relationship between EPA, environmental groups -- By John Roberts, Fox News

Newly disclosed emails suggest senior policy officials at the Environmental Protection Agency and environmental groups are working closely to kill the Keystone XL pipeline, critics say.

"These damning emails make it clear that the Obama administration has been actively trying to stop this important project for years," Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who has long advocated for the Canada-to-Texas pipeline's construction, said in a statement to Fox News.

The emails were obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request by the Energy and Environment Legal Institute. In one communication, Lena Moffit of the Sierra Club wrote to three senior policy staffers at the EPA, including Michael Goo, who was then the associate administrator for policy.

"Thanks so much for taking the time to meet with us on Keystone XL yesterday," she wrote. "Let me know if I can be helpful in any way -- particularly in further identifying those opportunities for EPA to engage that don't involve 'throwing your body across the tracks,' as Michael put it."

EELI senior legal fellow Chris Horner told Fox News that as a government agency, EPA couldn't be seen as overtly trying to kill Keystone, but was reaching out to environmental groups for other ideas on how to do it.

"On its face," Horner told Fox News, "it smacks of classic secret dealing and an uncomfortably close working relationship and one that is known to these parties, but quite plainly not advertised to the public."

Barrasso was less diplomatic. "Despite the fact that Keystone XL has bipartisan support in Congress and from governors, environmental extremists inside and out of the administration are working behind closed doors to kill it," he said.

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