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Sen. Cantwell fears Puget Sound could be hurt by expansion of Canadian pipeline

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, on March 25, 2015.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, on March 25, 2015. AP

Washington state Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell on Wednesday asked President Barack Obama to work with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make sure that an expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline does not hurt the Pacific Northwest.

“A tar sands oil spill would create far-reaching environmental and economic consequences in the Pacific Northwest,” Cantwell said in a letter to the president. “Given the importance of the Pacific Coast to the United States, I urge you to engage with Prime Minister Trudeau and take action to protect the Puget Sound.”

The pipeline carries crude and refined oil from Alberta to the west coast of British Columbia.

In her letter, Cantwell said an expansion of the pipeline is projected to triple capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of crude oil a day, increasing vessel traffic along the Pacific Coast.

“However,” she said, “the U.S. and Canada do not have the technologies or capabilities to clean-up a tar sands oil spill.”

Cantwell is the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Rob Hotakainen: 202-383-6154, @HotakainenRob

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