Washington, DC - In a letter sent today to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), joined a request made by Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) to investigate how the U.S. Department of State selects outside contractors. Senator Boxer's letter cited concerns about the procedure used to choose the contractor for the Keystone XL pipeline's Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

The full text of the letter is below:

February 28, 2014

The Honorable Gene Dodaro
Comptroller General
Government Accountability Office
441 G Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20548

Dear Mr. Dodaro:

On February 25, 2014, Congressman Raul Grijalva sent a letter to your office concerning conflicts of interest involving the State Department's use of the contractor Environmental Resources Management to prepare the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Specifically, the letter requests GAO examine several issues related to the State Department's procedures used in choosing and managing EIS contractors.

Through this letter, I am writing to join Congressman Grijalva in his request. The State Department must not just follow a process for selecting outside contractors. The process must be rigorous, thorough, and transparent, especially when the project in question could put communities from Alberta, Canada, down to the Gulf Coast at risk. The American people deserve to know that their interests -- not special interests -- are being protected by our federal agencies.

Please contact Joseph Mendelson on my staff at (202) 224-8832 if you have any questions or would like to discuss this matter.

Barbara Boxer