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Alberta premier strikes back at NY Times editorial slamming Keystone XL pipeline

EDMONTON - Premier Ed Stelmach has responded to a New York Times editorial that slams the proposed Alberta-to-Texas oil pipeline.

In a letter to the paper, the Alberta premier accuses the Times of using erroneous information to describe the oilsands.

Stelmach says pipelines are important to help the U.S. expand its oil production.

The premier also says he welcomes a review of the project by the U.S. State Department, but wants that review to be based on "fact and science."

Last weekend's editorial said the U.S. State Department must say no to TransCanada Corp.'s (TSX:TRP) US$13-billion Keystone XL project.

It says the oilsands mining process poses "enormous'' environmental risks, including the destruction of boreal forest, emits more carbon dioxide and threatens water sources.

The Times also said the potential for pipeline leaks pose the greatest threat to land and water along the pipeline's route.

On Monday, a group of more than 30 local and national organizations sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to extend the comment period for a supplemental environmental impact statement on Keystone XL from 45 to 120 days.

The State Department said in March it would undertake the extra review, pushing approval for the project back by several months. If the department grants the groups' request, it would likely mean further delays.

Meanwhile, an alliance of 24 U.S. mayors wrote a letter to Clinton urging her to approve the pipeline.

The State Department has the final say on Keystone XL, since it crosses the Canada-U.S. border.

Keystone XL would link up with an existing pipeline system that delivers crude to Illinois, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The expansion would raise the line's capacity by 500,000 barrels of crude per day, and extend its reach to the lucrative Gulf Coast.

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