UPDATE 2-Canada minister doesn't expect U.S. to veto Keystone pipeline

Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:12pm EST
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* U.S. officials expect final decision by mid-year

* Canada cautiously optimistic, says minister

* Greens strongly oppose the proposed pipeline

By Randall Palmer and David Ljunggren

OTTAWA, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said on Thursday he does not expect the United States to reject TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to Texas.

U.S. officials say they expect the government to make a final decision on the northern leg of the $5.3 billion pipeline by the middle of the year.

Green groups strongly oppose Keystone XL, which they say will boost global warming, and want President Barack Obama to block the project.

"I remain cautiously optimistic," Oliver told reporters.

Canada's Conservative government, which wants Washington to approve Keystone XL, also backs industry proposals for pipelines running from the oil sands to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.   Continued...