President Obama, Congress begin 2012 in oil pipeline dispute

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama and Congress are
starting the new year locked in a politically charged dispute over
a proposed 1,700-mile oil pipeline from Canada to Texas.

Republicans and some unions say the Keystone XL pipeline will
create thousands of jobs. Environmentalists fear it could lead to
an oil spill disaster.

The pre-Christmas agreement between Obama and Congress
temporarily extending the payroll tax cut included language
compelling Obama to make a speedy decision on whether to build the pipeline. The administration says it would rather say "no" than
rush a decision in an election year.

The $7 billion pipeline poses a political trap for Obama because
it divides his supporters. Environmentalists oppose the project
while most labor unions support it.

Republicans say Obama's stance shows he favors environmentalists
over jobs.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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