Hillary Clinton opposes Keystone XL pipeline – CNN

(CNN)Hillary Clinton said Tuesday she opposes the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, taking sides with progressives who are fighting the 1,179-mile project over environmental concerns.

The announcement, which comes after months of Clinton remaining mum over the hot-button 2016 issue, immediately drew praise from liberals and environmental groups but was criticized by Republican presidential candidates.

“I think it is imperative that we look at the Keystone pipeline as what I believe it is — a distraction from important work we have to do on climate change,” Clinton told a community forum in Des Moines, Iowa.

“And unfortunately from my perspective, one that interferes with our ability to move forward with all the other issues,” she said. “Therefore I oppose it.”

The Democratic 2016 front-runner announced her opposition to the project — which is still the subject of a years-long State Department review — as Pope Francis landed in the United States, dominating national media attention.

RELATED: Clinton says decision on Keystone pipeline coming ‘soon’

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