State Department Reverses Obama Decision and OKs Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

The controversial Keystone XL pipeline transporting Canadian tar sands oil from Alberta through the U.S. has been approved by the State Department.

Canadian oil company TransCanada can now construct, connect, operate, and maintain pipeline facilities at the border in Montana for importing the crude oil.

Previous Secretary of State John Kerry rejected the pipeline in November 2016, citing the Obama administration’s commitment to fight climate change. Two days after his inauguration in January, President Donald Trump invited Canada to resubmit the application. The company did so, and found approval through the State Department today.

Keystone’s first application for the Keystone XL pipeline was submitted in 2008 and was passed over to the Obama administration for support. Obama vetoed a bill supporting the pipeline in 2015 and eventually passed it over to the State Department for review.

Environmental groups fought the Keystone pipeline in Washington, D.C., and during rallies at field locations that would be affected by the installations. They linked the pipeline to climate change, citing current methods to extract oil from Canada’s tar sands are more destructive than other approaches.

For Republican Congressional members, the pipeline has represented opportunities for job creation.

TransCanada sees it as an important channel for strengthening North America’s position in the global energy market.

“This is a significant milestone for the Keystone XL 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,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and CEO.

The proposed project would build an 875-mile pipeline and related facilities from Alberta and the Bakken Shale Formation in Montana. Pipelines would carry the tar sands oil down through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Then it would connect with existing pipelines to move the oil to specialized refineries in Louisiana and other southern states.

SEE ALSO:  Will President Obama Finally Stop The Keystone XL Pipeline?

Backing by Trump’s State Department doesn’t finish the process for the Canada oil company. State-level approvals are needed in Nebraska and from other federal agencies including the Army Corps of Engineers, along with necessary permits and approvals by various entities in the states where the pipeline may be constructed.

Environmental groups like the Sierra Club won’t be giving up on the fight.

“This project has already been defeated, and it will be once again. The project faces a long fight ahead in the states,” said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.

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