Final Response to FOIA: “No GIS Data”

In their response to my FOIA request for the Keystone XL pipeline’s GIS data, including milepost marker longitude and latitude coordinates, the Department of State (DOS) has revealed that TransCanada did not supply the data and nor did the DOS request or require it. Without this digital mapping information, the Keystone XL’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) are incomplete and cannot be evaluated for environmental impacts.

In their letter, the DOS stated:

Based on the subject matter of your request, we contacted the offices most likely to have responsive records: the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs; and the Bureau of Energy, Economics and Business. We were informed by employees familiar with the records and organization of those offices that the Department does not have copies of records responsive to your request because the Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone pipeline project was created by Cardno ENTRIX under a contract financed by TransCanada Keystone Pipeline LP, and not the U.S. government. Neither Cardno ENTRIX nor TransCanada ever submitted GIS information to the Department of State, nor was either corporation required to do so. The information that you request, if it exists, is therefore neither physically nor constructively under the control of the Department of State and we are therefore unable to comply with your FOIA request.

Did the DOS, TransCanada, and Cardno ENTRIX all fail to perform due diligence in this case only – or is this standard operating procedure?

Last year when I requested the data from TransCanada, I was told that releasing it would be a “national security risk.” Despite this, TransCanada only carries $200 million in third party liability insurance. By contrast, cleanup costs for the 2010 pipeline spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan are $1 billion and climbing.

Why hasn’t TransCanada supplied, Cardno ENTRIX seen fit to include, or the DOS requested, electronic data of such national importance?

Last week President Obama said

I know there’s been, for example, a lot of controversy surrounding the proposal to build a pipeline — the Keystone pipeline, that would carry oil from Canadian tar sands down to refineries in the Gulf. The State Department is going through the final stages of evaluating the proposal. That’s how it’s always been done.

But I do want to be clear. Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest.

How does the DOS evaluate such national security, economic, and environmental interests without the electronic data?

Evidently, the Keystone Mapping Project knows more about the Keystone XL pipeline route than the United States Government.

DOS Final FOIA Response Keystone XL GIS data request
DOS Final FOIA Response Keystone XL GIS data request

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