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Canadian review panel approves plans for controversial pipeline

If Keystone XL ends up getting the axe from Obama, Canada's already got a back-up plan. A proposed $7.4 billion pipeline, which would connected Alberta's oil sands to the country's Pacific coast, was approved Thursday by an environmental and economic review panel. Reuters reports:

The controversial pipeline would have the capacity to ship 525,000 barrels of oil sands crude per day from Edmonton, Alberta, to a deepwater port at Kitimat, British Columbia, on the Pacific Coast. A second line would return 193,000 barrels per day of condensate, which is used to blend into tar-like oil sands bitumen so it can flow on pipelines.

"Based on a scientific and precautionary approach to this complex review, the panel found that the project, if built and operated in compliance with the conditions set out in its report, would be in the public interest," the panel said in a statement.

Canada's federal government now has 180 days to decide whether to accept the joint review panel's recommendations on the proposed 1,170-kilometer (725-mile) pipeline.

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