A controversial plan to construct a pipeline linking Canadian oil fields to refineries near the Gulf of Mexico got a critical boost last week from the U.S Chamber of Commerce, which launched a lobbying effort dubbed the Partnership to Fuel America. The group will seek to build political support for the pipeline, a project that is widely opposed on environmental grounds. The Chamber of Commerce initiative arrives amid both a broader push to grant approval for the pipeline and a perceived softening by the Obama administration in favor of major oil projects. Earlier this week, a man associated with a former Nebraska senator set up more than a dozen fake twitter accounts linking back to pro-pipeline websites. And on Thursday, the Department of the Interior issued a decision that advances Royal Dutch Shell's plans to drill off the coast of Alaska in the Beaufort Sea. Anti-drilling groups will likely oppose those plans amid concerns that the rough, often stormy waters could invite a catastrophic spill in the event of an accident. The proposed pipeline from Canada would connect oil-sands fields near Calgary with refineries along the Gulf coast. Oil-sands, a thick petroleum, are hazardous and expensive to mine.
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