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Keystone Pipeline rejection sparks cheers, protests

(Xinhua)

15:46, January 19, 2012

CHICAGO, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Obama Administration's decision Wednesday to block the controversial Keystone oil pipeline has been hailed by environmentalists but labeled a job-killer by the project's supporters.

Obama's official statement said the rejection was made due to the "arbitrary nature" of a deadline, which left the U.S. State Department unable to fully evaluate the matter. However, environmentalists took the decision as a political victory.

Environmentalists argue the risk of an oil spill from the proposed pipeline is great and the refining process of the tar sand crude oil is damaging, as well as making the U.S. more dependent on fossil fuels instead of developing clean energy.

"(Obama) put the health and safety of the American people - our land air and water and our national interests - above the interest of big oil," National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) spokesperson Anthony Swift told Xinhua in an interview.

The NRDC was one of the major environmental action groups speaking out against the Keystone Pipeline in recent months.

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