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Canada PM defends tar sands pipeline plan, saying oil will come into U.S. anyway

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Canada’s prime minister says a controversial oil pipeline from his country to the U.S. Gulf Coast “absolutely needs to go ahead” and warns that the oil will be transported through one way or the other.

Stephen Harper spoke on the Keystone XL project during a visit to New York City on Thursday. The pipeline project carrying oil from Canada’s tar sands would need approval from the U.S. State Department.

Harper says “The only real immediate environmental issue here is, do we want to increase the flow of oil from Canada by pipeline or via rail?” He says rail is “far more environmentally challenging.”

Dozens of protesters chanted against the pipeline as Harper arrived at the Council on Foreign Relations.