WASHINGTON — Energy Secretary Steven Chu says Canada's status as a close U.S. ally may help win approval of a plan to pipe oil from Canada across the U.S. to the Gulf of Mexico.

Chu says that importing oil from Canada "is much more comforting than to have other countries supply our oil."

Chu's comments are the latest signal that the Obama administration appears likely to back the 1,700-mile pipeline. It would carry crude oil that's extracted from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, and bring it to refineries in Texas.

The pipeline would travel through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.

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Chu says the project "is not perfect, but it's a trade-off."

The interview with the "energyNOW!" TV show is set to air in mid-September on Bloomberg Television.

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