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Powerful member of Congress slams Alberta to Texas tar sands pipeline

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), a senior member of Congress and chair of the powerful Congressional Committee on Energy and Commerce has penned a public letter to the Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton, in which he states strong opposition to a planned oil pipeline that would transport Canada's controversial tar sands oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

In the letter Waxman writes:

“The State Department's decision on whether to permit this pipeline represents a critical choice about America's energy future.

“This pipeline is a multi-billion dollar investment to expand our reliance on the dirtiest source of transportation fuel currently available. While I strongly support the President's efforts to move America to a clean energy economy, I am concerned that the Keystone XL pipeline would be a step in the wrong direction.”

You can download a full PDF copy of the letter from Waxman to Clinton here. Upon completion, the Keystone XL pipeline would run 2,151 miles from Canada into the United States and then another 1,661 miles to the Gulf Coast.

The Tyee published last month a news report about the Keystone XL pipeline and resistance to it.

The Canadian oil sands have come under increasing scrutiny as the public becomes more aware of the human health and environmental impacts.

“Chairman Waxman’s letter signals that the infrastructure linchpin for the dirtiest oil in the world will no longer progress quietly through the regulatory process. The Obama Administration cannot make this decision in the back rooms; instead it must decide very publicly whether to start breaking our oil addiction now, it put it off for another time," said Kenny Bruno from Corporate Ethics International in response to the letter issued by Rep. Waxman.

Kevin Grandia is managing editor of the Desmog Blog where a version of this report first appeared .

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