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Obama steps into Keystone XL fray

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The concerns of the people of Nebraska will be considered when Washington reviews the prospects for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the U.S. president said.

Nebraska lawmakers during a special session Tuesday said they wanted a say in where the controversial pipeline would pass through their state.

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Canadian pipeline company TransCanada aims to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from tar sands projects in Alberta to refineries along the southern U.S. coast.

The pipeline, if built, would cross part of the Nebraska Sandhills and run through the Ogallala Aquifer.

U.S. President Barack Obama told Nebraska's KETV NewsWatch 7 that his administration was taking the "long view" on the pipeline.

"There's a way of doing that and making sure the health and safety of the people of Nebraska are protected," he said. "And that's how I'll be measuring these recommendations when they come to me."

The U.S. State Department is reviewing a permit for the pipeline because it would cross international boundaries. Backers of the project say it would boost regional energy security while bringing major economic stimulus to the United States. Critics said the environmental problems associated with the pipeline aren't worth the risk.

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Republican lawmakers in Nebraska accused Obama of politicizing the issue.

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