U.S. State Dept. hears from Kan., Texas residents on Keystone pipeline

TOPEKA, Kan. — As protests took place in Canada, American environmentalists lined up in Kansas to tell the State Department they oppose the US$7 billion Keystone XL pipeline, which would move oil to the Texas coast from Alberta.

TOPEKA, Kan. — As protests took place in Canada, American environmentalists lined up in Kansas to tell the State Department they oppose the US$7 billion Keystone XL pipeline, which would move oil to the Texas coast from Alberta.

Rabbi Moti Rieber, co-ordinator of Kansas Interfaith Power & Light, joined the orderly procession of speakers Monday. The religious and environmental group leader called the 2,700-kilometre pipeline “a direct threat” to Kansas’ natural resources because of possible spills.

In Ottawa, several hundred people showed up on Parliament Hill to protest the pipeline plans and the growth in the oilsands industry.

The demonstration was organized by Greenpeace and other groups who say the pipeline from Alberta to Texas is harmful to the environment in both Canada and the United States.

In Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback says he supports the pipeline because it would boost national security by giving the U.S. a steady source of oil from a “friendly nation that’s next door.”

Labour union members support the pipeline because of the jobs it would create.

The State Department also is holding hearings in Texas, Montana, and elsewhere this week before deciding whether to approve the pipeline.

The huge pipeline proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) would carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of heavy crude from the oilsands projects in northern Alberta to American refineries in the U.S. Gulf states.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters in New York over the weekend that U.S. approval of the oil pipeline is a “no-brainer” since the project would bring thousands of jobs and also ensure a secure source of energy for the United States.

The proposal has been assailed by environmentalists and some landowners in the pipeline’s proposed path.

With files from The Canadian Press