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The signature Keystone XL pipeline project, backed by two of Canada’s major federal party leaders, now has a new foe: the woman who stands a reasonable chance of winning the White House.
Hillary Clinton, who polls suggest is the leading contender for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, declared Tuesday she is against Keystone XL, which would carry Canadian oil-sands crude to Gulf Coast refineries via Nebraska.
Her announcement is another blow for TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone project, which both Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau have supported as a means of creating jobs and getting Canada’s petroleum resources to market.
It lands in the middle of the Canadian federal election where Mr. Harper, Mr. Trudeau and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair have clashed on the right energy and environmental policies for the country as it grapples with the impact of weak oil prices.
Ms. Clinton framed the news as a necessary act of decisiveness after years of debate on the file. 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 in Iowa. “Therefore, I oppose it.”
Mr. Harper’s campaign countered by arguing Keystone has significant backing among the American public.
“This is not a debate between Canada and the U.S. We know the American people support the project,” Conservative campaign spokesman Stephen Lecce said.
The Tories declined to comment further on Ms. Clinton, saying, “We will not engage in presidential primary debates” taking place in the United States.
“Keystone XL will create jobs for Canadian and American workers and strengthen energy security in North America,” Mr. Lecce said.
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