Energy & Environment

Trump administration to approve Keystone pipeline

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The Trump administration is expected to approve a permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline as early as Monday. 

A person familiar with the matter told The Hill Thursday that the White House is planning to issue a cross-border permit for the contentious Canadian pipeline project by Monday, confirming reports by Politico and The Associated Press earlier Thursday.  

Monday is the deadline for a 60-day review of the project directed by President Trump in January.
Tom Shannon, the State Department’s undersecretary for political affairs, is expected to recommend the approval Friday and send the recommendation to the White House.
A State Department spokesman declined to confirm the reports, saying only that State “will be in compliance with the 60 day requirement” from the memo Trump signed shortly after taking office.
{mosads}Issuing a permit for Keystone would reverse one of the highest-profile decisions of President Obama’s tenure in office. 

In 2015, Obama’s State Department formally rejected Keystone developer TransCanada’s request to build the 1,179-mile pipeline, which would carry up to 830,000 barrels of oil each day between the Alberta oil sands to existing pipelines in the United States 

Because the pipeline crosses an international border, it requires formal approval from the State Department. Obama rejected the project on environmental grounds, saying it would undercut his administration’s climate change goals. 

Republicans strongly opposed the decision, and TransCanada filed a $15 billion NAFTA claim against the U.S. associated with Obama’s move. 

Trump promised throughout his presidential campaign to revive the project if elected. Four days after taking office, Trump signed a memo ordering the State Department to reconsider TransCanada’s permit application, which they resubmitted days later. 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former head of Exxon Mobil Corp., recused himself from any decision on the fate of Keystone. 

Tags Keystone XL pipeline Rex Tillerson State Department

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