President Trump announced the granting of a presidential permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline project on Friday, calling it ”a historic moment for North America and energy independence.”
Keystone, an $8 billion project that was delayed and ultimately denied by the Obama administration, “demonstrates how our government has failed its citizens and our companies for so long," Trump said in the Oval Office on Friday, flanked by Cabinet officials, business leaders and Keystone developer officials.
“Today we make things right,” he said. “This is just the first of many energy and infrastructure projects that my administration will approve … in order to help put Americans back to work, grow our economy and rebuild our nation.”
The cross-border permit, approved by the State Department on Friday morning, is not the last word on Keystone, which still faces regulatory hurdles in Nebraska and other states. Construction on the pipeline won’t begin until those other permits are issued.
Environmentalists, who convinced the Obama administration to deny the project in 2015, are already gearing up for another major fight over Keystone, pledging to protest the project and sue against it.
But the permit is a major milestone for the 1,179-mile pipeline, which could carry as much as 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to existing pipelines in the United States.
Russ Girling, the president and CEO of Keystone developer TransCanada, acknowledged that the company is still working to win regulatory approval elsewhere.
“We’ve got some work to do with Nebraska to get our permits there, so we’re looking forward to working through that,” he said, standing beside Trump. “We’ve been working there for some time and I do believe we will get through that process.”
Trump said he would call Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, the Republican brother of a Commerce Department nominee, on Friday.
“Nebraska!” he said to Girling. “I’ll call Nebraska.”