Opponents decry State Dept. 'bias' on oil pipeline

October 4, 2011 - 11:55 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Environmental groups are asking President Barack Obama to reject what they call State Department "bias" in favor of a proposed oil pipeline from Canada. The groups want Obama personally to decide on a Canadian company's plan to pipe oil from tar sands in western Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast.

A letter signed by environmental and public interest groups cites internal State Department documents that the groups say demonstrate an overly cozy relationship with executives of Calgary-based TransCanada. The groups are especially concerned about the role played by TransCanada executive Paul Elliott, a former aide in Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.

The State Department has authority over the 1,700 mile pipeline because it would cross the U.S. border, traveling through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.