WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump authorized a Canadian company on Friday to proceed with the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which had been rejected by his predecessor and awoken strong reactions from environmentalists, the Department of State’s deputy spokesman announced.
Mark Toner said in a statement that Trump had decided to allow Calgary, Alberta-based TransCanada Corp. to construct, connect, operate and maintain pipeline facilities at the US-Canada border in Phillips County, Montana, for imports of crude oil.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that Trump would provide more details about the project at 10:15 am.
TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said the presidential permit signed by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon, Jr. was a significant milestone for the project.
“We greatly appreciate President Trump’s administration for reviewing and approving this important initiative and we look forward to working with them as we continue to invest in and strengthen North America’s energy infrastructure,” he said.
The Keystone XL pipeline is to move roughly 830,000 barrels a day of synthetic oil and diluted bitumen from the Canadian province of Alberta to a number of points in the US, including refineries on the Texas coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
In 2015, then-President Barack Obama rejected TransCanada’s request to build the pipeline after a lengthy review of its potential environmental impact.
In doing so, he accepted a recommendation from then-Secretary of State John Kerry, who concluded that the project would undermine the US’s role as a leader in global efforts to combat climate change.
But four days after taking office on Jan. 20, Trump signed executive orders giving the green light for TransCanada to build the Keystone XL and for Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners to build a final uncompleted section (under North Dakota’s Lake Oahe) of the Dakota Access pipeline.
He said both orders were subject to terms and conditions to be negotiated by the US.