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Canada approves oil pipeline to the Pacific Coast

The Canadian government has approved a proposed pipeline to the Pacific Coast that would allow Canada's oil to be shipped to Asia.

The approval was expected. Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been a staunch supporter of Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline after the U.S. delayed a decision on TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline that would take oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Enbridge's pipeline would transport 525,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta's oil sands to the Pacific to deliver oil to Asia, mainly energy-hungry China.

There is fierce environmental and aboriginal opposition to the project and legal challenges are expected. Opponents fear pipeline leaks and a potential disaster on the pristine Pacific coast.