UPDATE 3-Clinton breaks silence on Keystone pipeline, opposes it
(New throughout, adds details, reaction from Canada, Clinton to release energy plan in days)
By Amanda Becker
DES MOINES, Iowa, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has long avoided a firm position on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, broke her silence on Tuesday and said she opposed it.
"I have a responsibility to you and other voters," Clinton, a former secretary of state, said at a town hall event in Iowa about TransCanada Corp's project to bring Canadian oil to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico via Nebraska.
A decision on Keystone that has been pending for seven years is important as it has become "a distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change," she said.
"Therefore, I oppose it," she said.
Environmental activists close to Clinton's campaign said the timing of her remarks was driven by her desire to make clear her opposition before the Oct. 13 Democratic debate.
Senator Bernie Sanders, a rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, opposes the pipeline and had urged her to take a position.
Sanders said in a statement he was glad Clinton "finally has made a decision and I welcome her opposition to the pipeline." It would be "absurd to encourage the extraction and transportation of some of the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet," he said. Continued...