Salazar: Keystone XL a 'win-win' project

Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Wednesday said he backs building the Keystone XL pipeline, calling it a "win-win" project.

At an energy conference in Houston, Salazar said the pipeline could be built safely, with the right conditions.

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Salazar told the Associated Press that the pipeline has the potential to be a "win-win" project, benefiting energy security while increasing conservation efforts in South Dakota, Montana and other states through which the pipeline runs.

If the pipeline operator was required to meet environmental standards and pay for conservation programs along its route, which runs from oils sands in Alberta to Gulf refineries, it could help the environment and ease the bottlenecks of crude oil in parts of the country, he said.

Salazar's comments on the pipeline are the second this week from a former administration official.

On Monday, former Energy Secretary Steven Chu called Obama's pending decision on the TransCanada pipeline a "political one," but wouldn't say whether the pipeline should be built.

The administration has been hit with an onslaught of comment from the oil industry and green groups in recent days, following the release of State Department's final environmental analysis on Friday.