Advocates are touting TransCanada's oil sands pipeline Keystone XL as a way to increase regional energy security.
The U.S. State Department said it would solicit public comments on the planned Keystone oil pipeline as part of its federal review process.
Jeremy Symons, a vice president at the National Wildlife Foundation, said the project wouldn't do much to allay concerns about energy self-sufficiency.
The Keystone XL pipeline would stretch 1,700 miles from the border of Canada through Oklahoma and on to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
NWF says Washington should put more emphasis on clean energy and high-speed rail rather than projects like Keystone. Symons added that his group viewed the motive behind the project as purely commercial.
John Carruthers, president of Canadian pipeline operator Enbridge, said at a regional oil conference, meanwhile, that Canada should look beyond the United States.
Canada supplies the United States with about 20 percent of its oil supplies though the country relies on the U.S. markets for nearly all of its exports.
"They have a world of options and we only have one," he was quoted by the Calgary Herald as saying.