Key U.S. lawmaker opposes Canadian oil sands pipeline

Tue Jul 6, 2010 6:02pm EDT
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By Ayesha Rascoe and Scott Haggett

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A key U.S. lawmaker has called on the government to block a TransCanada pipeline designed to supply U.S. refineries with Canada's oil sands crude, arguing the "dirtiest" fuel undermined efforts to battle global warming.

Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee, urged the State Department to block TransCanada's planned Keystone XL pipeline.

"This pipeline is a multibillion-dollar investment to expand our reliance on the dirtiest source of transportation fuel currently available," Waxman said in a letter to the department.

Canada's oil sands, the largest source of crude outside the Middle East, are developed using open pit mines and processing plants that spew carbon.

Since Waxman heads an influential committee, the Obama administration must pay attention to his stance.

"His letter is very significant and represents a major change in that the Obama administration now has to declare in a more public way whether it's going to begin taking steps now to break our oil addiction," said Kenny Bruno, U.S. coordinator of the No Tar Sands Oil campaign.

Despite a pledge to lower greenhouse gas emissions, the administration has not yet taken steps to crack down on oil sands imports, a stable fuel source from a friendly neighbor.

Last year, the administration approved a similar pipeline project transporting oil sands by Enbridge Inc.   Continued...