Keystone Pipeline: TransCanada Touts US Jobs as Trump Greenlights

After a new U.S. review of the project, Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon issued the presidential permit, concluding that it would "serve the national interest," the State Department said Friday.

Shortly after taking office in January, Trump also signed an executive order to complete the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.

TransCanada said the pipeline is part of a USA growth portfolio that would drive more than $15 billion in investments and create "thousands" of jobs.

"We greatly appreciate President Trump's administration for reviewing and approving this important initiative", said TransCanada CEO Russ Girling.

Although TransCanada has secured agreements with roughly 90 percent of the Nebraska landowners along the route, those who oppose it say the Canadian company shouldn't be allowed to use eminent domain to gain access to their property.

Barrasso in his statement, said permitting the pipeline will create jobs, help grow our economy, and improve America's energy security.

"The Presidential Permit is only one part of a web of federal, state, and local permits that must be obtained prior to starting construction", he said.

While the building of the Keystone XL pipeline has led to tons of controversy and protests in recent years, the granting of the permit on Friday has seemingly been overshadowed by the ongoing speculation and criticism over Trumps' new healthcare bill, which will be voted on later in the day on Friday. The environmental group has been one of the most vocal opponents of the pipeline, and says the approval sends a signal to the world that the U.S.is "moving backwards" on climate and energy.

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said the project will create temporary construction jobs and permanent jobs and displace oil from hostile countries with oil from "our friendliest, longest neighbor in Canada".

US government studies have repeatedly found that the pipeline would have negligible impact on the environment and potentially even a positive one as a cleaner alternative to oil transport by rail. Tom Shannon, undersecretary of state for political affairs, signed the permit because Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had recused himself on the project.

Environmental groups vowed to fight it.

TransCanada tried for more than five years to build the 1,179-mile (1,897-km) pipeline, until Obama rejected it in 2015. The USD 8-billion project would connect Alberta's massive tar sands crude with pipelines and refineries on the Texas gulf coast that are particularly well-suited to handling the thick oil.

The biggest remaining hurdle for Keystone XL may be in Nebraska, where the state Public Service Commission is still reviewing TransCanada Corp's application.

"We're fighting Keystone XL because of the tremendous risk it poses to the Ogallala Aquifer", Kleeb said.

A day of action in Washington scheduled for April 29 will feature opposition to Keystone XL, and anti-fossil fuel organization 350.org says that it will press members of Congress to renounce their support of the pipeline during the spring recess.

  • Zachary Reyes