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NWF cries foul over Keystone XL 'stunt'

  |   Dec. 15, 2011 at 7:43 AM
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Energy companies invested in so-called tar sands oil are behind the "political stunt" being played with the Keystone XL pipeline, an environmentalist said.

Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives attached a provision for the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to legislation regarding continuation of payroll tax cuts. They claim the pipeline is shovel-ready and will add jobs to a sluggish U.S. economy.

Jeremy Symons, senior vice president of the National Wildlife Federation, said it wasn't U.S. politicians but major oil companies that are driving the legislation.

"The oil companies that profit from dirty tar sands oil are calling the shots and pulling the strings behind this political stunt," he said in a statement.

He said building Keystone XL will increase U.S. dependency on heavy oil from Canada.

TransCanada said it was considering alternative routes for Keystone XL through Nebraska because opponents said the planned route passed over an aquifer. As a consequence, the U.S. State Department said it needs to take another look at the project, pushing a final decision until after the 2012 presidential elections.

Republican critics accuse the White House of playing political games with Keystone XL at the cost of jobs and energy security. The Obama administration, however, said it was practicing due diligence.

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