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Keystone pipeline decision not tainted, says Clinton

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. government's decision on TransCanada's proposed Keystone pipeline will be fair.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dismisses allegations by environmental groups that her decision is tainted by a past relationship with a TransCanada executive (Associated Press)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. government's decision on TransCanada's proposed Keystone pipeline will be fair.

She dismissed allegations by environmental groups that her decision is tainted by a past relationship with a TransCanada executive who served as an aide in her 2008 presidential campaign.

Emails released in recent weeks show friendly exchanges between a State Department official and TransCanada executive Paul Elliot.

Clinton told The Associated Press that the Keystone XL decision is an emotional one and there are people who feel very strongly on both sides.

Calgary-based TransCanada wants to use a 914-millimetre pipeline to carry crude oil from Alberta's oilsands to refineries in the Gulf Coast.

The underground pipeline would carry an estimated 700,000 barrels of oil a day.

Supporters say the line could significantly reduce American dependence on Middle Eastern oil while opponents say it could cause an ecological disaster in case of a spill.

The State Department — which has authority over the project because it crosses the border — is expected to make a recommendation on the project by the end of the year.