Senators from both parties urged Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday to clarify remarks she made that signaled likely U.S. support for a $7 billion pipeline to carry Canadian oil to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Sens. Mike Johanns and Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Jeff Merkley of Oregon called Clinton's comments premature and damaging to the integrity of the federal review process. The lawmakers cautioned Clinton to consider all sides before deciding whether to grant a permit allowing TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline to cross the U.S-Canadian border.

Clinton stirred up controversy on both sides of the border the previous week after saying she was "inclined" to back the project, which would carry crude oil nearly 2,000 miles from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to Port Arthur, Texas, via Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.

"We're either going to be dependent on dirty oil from the Gulf or dirty oil from Canada," Clinton said after an Oct. 15 speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. "And until we can get our act together as a country and figure out that clean, renewable energy is in both our economic interests and the interests of our planet" the U.S. will remain dependent on oil, she said.

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Related Project
Keystone Pipeline
Facility Type: Pipeline Owner: TransCanada (developer and operator); ConocoPhillips
Scope: New Construction Location: Hardisty, Alberta to Cushing, Okla. and Patoka, Ill. United States