President Donald Trump greenlighted the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline Friday, declaring it a "great day for American jobs" and siding with energy advocates over environmental groups in a debate over climate change.
The Trump administration on Friday issued a presidential permit to TransCanada to complete the pipeline project after nearly a decade since the company first applied for a permit in 2008. It's created to move crude from Canada's oil sands in Alberta south to the U.S. Gulf Coast, where it could be refined or exported.
The 1,900 kilometer (1,181 miles) long pipeline will carry oil from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to Houston-area refineries, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. "Of course other countries will take note that the U.S.is authorizing a pipeline to transport some of the most carbon-intensive fossil fuels on the planet and help bring them to market".
The department did not update the environmental impact study for the pipeline, a process that could have taken years.
Soon after the State Department granted TransCanada a permit to build a pipeline across the U.S.
Fred Jauss, partner at the global law firm Dorsey & Whitney and a former attorney with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said local permitting would also be a challenge.
"It's going to be an incredible pipeline", Trump said. They've pledged to deploy a variety of strategies - including litigation and civil disobedience - to derail the pipeline, as they did during the Obama administration.
"The same communities who defeated this pipeline before - indigenous leaders, landowners, farmers and grass-roots activists - are ready to fight again", says 350.org Executive Director May Boeve.
"Trump has gone back on his promise to use American-made steel because he exempted Keystone XL, so this would be using foreign steel to be constructed", said Hayes.
President Barack Obama denied TransCanada's request for a permit to cross the border, citing environmental concerns. In 2015 when the Pipeline was headed to Congress for a vote, more than 90 scientists and economists sent a letter to the White House urging President Obama and the Secretary of State John Kerry to reject the pipeline.
"Today we begin to make things right and do things right", he said.
After months of strong talk on how he'd renegotiate the Keystone XL "deal" with TransCanada, demanding that they use American steel and even at one point suggesting that the US would grab "a piece of the profits" from the pipeline, it seems that President Trump lost on all counts. Enbridge also received approval for the replacement and overhaul of its Line 3 pipeline from Alberta to Wisconsin in the United States. The Canadian company's previous attempts to start construction in Nebraska have been thwarted by activists and some landowners who argue the pipeline could damage property and contaminate groundwater.