Energy & Environment

White House: Keystone XL exempt from ‘Buy American’ push

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The Keystone XL pipeline will not have to comply with President Trump’s executive order prioritizing the use of American steel in pipeline projects, the White House said on Friday . 

“Well the way that executive order is written … it’s specific to new pipelines or those that are being repaired,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Friday. “And since this one is already currently under construction, the steel is already literally sitting there, it would be hard to go back.”

{mosads}Despite repeated assertions from Trump that he has formally required new pipelines use American steel — a pledge he repeated in his address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday — the order he signed is not nearly as broad.

Trump signed an executive order in January telling the Commerce Department to write a plan “under which all new pipelines, as well as retrofitted, repaired, or expanded pipelines … use materials and equipment produced in the United States.” 

That measure came the same day Trump signed orders reviving the Keystone XL project, a pipeline that would bring crude oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast, which then-President Obama shot down in 2015.   

The Commerce study is still in progress and it will only yield a requirement that developers use American steel “to the maximum extent possible and to the extent permitted by law,” language that raises questions about how firm the requirement will end up being.

Keystone developer TransCanada already owns the pipe it intends to use for the project. The Dakota Access Pipeline, another project Trump insisted would be built with American steel, will only be 57 percent American-made.

TransCanada this week formally suspended its $15 billion legal challenge to the United States’ decision to block the project. A Reuters writer reported on Thursday that TransCanada could have restarted that lawsuit if Trump’s American steel requirement had been binding.

—Updated at 4:10 p.m.

Tags Keystone Pipeline Keystone XL Steel TransCanada
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