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Critics cry foul over Keystone XL review

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A man wears a sticker against the Keystone XL pipeline project at a State Department hearing to consider if it is in the U.S. national interest in Washington, DC, on October 7, 2011. The pipeline would carry crude oil from Canada through nine U.S. states to Houston, Texas. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg
A man wears a sticker against the Keystone XL pipeline project at a State Department hearing to consider if it is in the U.S. national interest in Washington, DC, on October 7, 2011. The pipeline would carry crude oil from Canada through nine U.S. states to Houston, Texas. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- A U.S. State Department review of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada is tainted by conflicts of interest, environmental groups claim.

The State Department this year found no significant environmental danger posed by TransCanada's planned Keystone XL oil pipeline. The pipeline would carry oil from tar sands in Alberta province in Canada to refineries along the southern U.S. coast.

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A consortium of environmental groups, in a letter to State Department Inspector General Harold Geisel, claim its review of the pipeline was corrupted by bias and conflicts of interest.

Critics of the planned pipeline note, among other complaints, that a lobbyist from TransCanada, Paul Elliot, once worked on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's campaign staff when she ran for president in 2008.

The State Department has denied it was influenced by lobbyists or past relationships in its review of the pipeline.

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune was quoted by the Platts news service as saying that if President Barack Obama ultimately gives the nod to Keystone XL, he'll have a national outrage to address.

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"If the president approves the pipeline it's our responsibility to continue to fight it," he said.

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