Sen. Whitehouse: Obama could use Keystone approval to tackle climate change

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Whitehouse wants to see measures including Environmental Protection Agency carbon emissions standards for existing power plants.

He spoke to reporters after remarks at “Good Jobs, Green Jobs,” a conference that brings together several labor unions and environmental groups.

Asked if he thinks Obama will approve Keystone XL, Whitehouse replied: “I think it is a very realistic prospect.”

The State Department is leading the federal review of TransCanada Corp.’s proposed pipeline, which would bring oil from Canadian oil sands projects across the border en route to Gulf Coast refineries. 

The oil-and-gas industry has made approval of the project a top priority, and are clashing with environmentalists who want Obama to reject it.

This post was updated at 12:39 p.m.