WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to a TransCanada Corporation press release this morning, the U.S. State Department has signed and issued a Presidential Permit for the company to build the Keystone XL Pipeline.
According to The Associated Press, the decision was announced by Undersecretary of State Tom Shannon since current Secretary of State and former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson recused himself from the decision.
The move is a complete 180 degree turn from former U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to deny TransCanada a permit for the 1,900 kilometre proposed pipeline in 2015. Current President Donald Trump invited TransCanada to reapply for a presidential permit during his first days in office last January.
With today’s decision, TransCanada also dropped its claim under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and will end its U.S. Constitutional challenge to former President Obama’s decision.
“This is a significant milestone for the Keystone XL project,” said TransCanada’s president and CEO Russ Girling. “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.”
Though the approval makes Keystone XL one step closer to reality, TransCanada still faces several hurdles before shovels can hit the ground. The company says that it “will continue to engage key stakeholders and neighbors throughout Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota to obtain the necessary permits and approvals to advance this project to construction.”
With files from The Associated Press/CBC News: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/keystone-xl-ok-state-department-transcanada-1.4039176