On Friday, the Trump administration officially gave TransCanada permission to build the Keystone XL Pipeline.
The State Department said that Tom Shannon, the undersecretary for political affairs, issued the permit citing that building Keystone is in best interest of the U.S. The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recused himself due to his previous experience with Exxon Mobil.
“In making his determination that issuance of this permit would serve the national interest, the under-secretary considered a range of factors, including but not limited to foreign policy; energy security; environmental, cultural, and economic impacts; and compliance with applicable law and policy,” said the State Department.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted early Friday morning that the president would be discussing the pipeline later that morning.
The permit, which was previously rejected by Obama’s administration due to the climate change issue, was approved only two months after President Donald Trump signed a memorandum reliving the project.
“The move by the State Department comes 16 months after Obama blocked construction of the 1,200-mile pipeline, which would ship crude from Canada’s western oil-sands region to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The pipeline became the subject of major lobbying efforts by both oil industry supporters and environmental groups, which turned the project into the focus of their climate change campaigns,” writes Politico.
President Trump promised to quickly approve the $8 billion project on his campaign trail.
“This is a significant milestone for the Keystone XL project,” said Russ Girling, president of TransCanada Corp.,in a statement. “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.”
TransCanada also said it must “engage key stakeholders and neighbors throughout Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota to obtain the necessary permits and approvals to advance this project to construction.”
However, this is just the first hurdle. State officials in Nebraska have to approve the permit, which could take up to 6 months.
The State Department has estimated that the project will create 42,100 jobs. most of which are temporary. But, supporters of pipeline projects advocate that they are needed to improve the country’s energy industry.
“After many years of unfortunate delays and partisan posturing, Keystone XL pipeline finally got the green light it has long deserved,” said Thomas Donohue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce president in a statement. “This pipeline, and countless other projects around the nation, will improve America’s energy security, create jobs, and help get the economy back on track.”
Author’s note: This is just another example of Trump getting right down to business and executing a campaign trail promise.