Hillary Clinton opposes controversial oil pipeline

Updated: 2015-09-23 10:46


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Hillary Clinton opposes controversial oil pipeline

US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in the gymnasium of Moulton Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa, Sept 22, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton Tuesday expressed her firm opposition to a controversial oil pipeline after keeping silence on the issue for months.

Calling the Keystone XL oil pipeline "a distraction" from efforts to combat climate change, Clinton for the first time said on the campaign trail in Iowa that she opposed it.

"I oppose it. I oppose it because I don't think it's in the best interest of what we need to do to combat climate change," Clinton said.

The pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, has met with fierce opposition from liberals in the Democratic Party who said it would increase the United States' reliance on fossil fuels.

Clinton said earlier that she wanted to stay out of the debate around the oil pipeline and leave its fate to the Obama administration that was currently in the middle of environmental reviews of the pipeline.

"I was in a unique position as secretary of state at the start of this (review) process, and not wanting to interfere with ongoing decision-making that the president and Secretary (of State John) Kerry have to do in order to make whatever final decisions they need," Clinton said Tuesday to explain her overdue position.

Clinton said the lengthy review process by the US State Department, initiated by former president George W. Bush, caused her to share her stance with voters.

Clinton's announcement came as controversy around her private email setup during her stint as the US top diplomat and surge of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in poll numbers threaten to derail her otherwise smooth path to the Democratic nomination.