Trump OKs Keystone pipeline

United States president Donald Trump's administration approved TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, cheering the oil industry and angering environmentalists who had sought for years to block it.

The Trump administration's approval represents an about face from President Obama's stance on an issue that has pitted environmentalists and local communities against Transcanada, which plans to build the pipeline that will shuttle up to 800,000 barrels of oil a day.

"I'm pleased to announce the official approval of the presidential permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline", Trump told reporters at a national economic council meeting at the While House.

Girling, the TransCanada CEO, said Friday that thousands of people are "ready and itching to get to work". The vast majority would be "indirect" jobs that other industries gain from the influx of dollars and construction workers.

Oil industry advocates say the pipeline will improve US energy security and create jobs, although how many is widely disputed.

The pipeline, which the Obama administration had held up for years, would carry oil from the Canadian oil sands in Alberta down to Nebraska, and further to the Gulf Coast or Midwest refineries.

In January, President Donald Trump signed an executive order advancing the pipeline.

The company said it would consequently withdraw a bankruptcy claim it filed through the North American Free Trade Agreement and end its legal fight over the constitutional nature of the Obama presidential administration's rejection of the project. The State Department estimated that the U.S. portion of the pipeline would create 42,000 temporary jobs over a two-year construction period, but opponents note that less than 50 permanent jobs would be created for pipeline maintenance. Other estimates predict just a few thousand jobs, lasting only for the few years the pipeline is being built.

"Nebraska?" Trump said. "I'll call Nebraska".

The pipeline still needs permit approval from Nebraska before it can begin construction.

Noem says the pipeline's construction will mean added revenue for South Dakota counties and relief on the state's roads and rails.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission still must issue a crucial permit so the pipeline can cross state boundaries, and that decision may not come until September.

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"We'll use every tool in the kit to stop this risky tar sands oil pipeline project", said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"As we move forward, we'll continue to look to buy the rest of the materials we need from".

"Keystone was stopped once before, and it will be stopped again", said Annie Leonard, the group's USA director.

Environmental groups fought the Keystone pipeline in Washington, D.C., and during rallies at field locations that would be affected by the installations.

"We want to protect our water treatment plant we have between Poplar and Wolf Point, which serves the entire Fort Peck Indian Reservation and off the reservation in northeast Montana", says Starr.

Relying mostly on the same information, the Trump administration reversed Obama's decision Friday.

Energy Transfer Partners and the Corps respond that the process resulting in federal permission was properly handled.

South Dakota's Cheyenne River Sioux and Rosebud Sioux tribes have said they will provide space to resist construction of the pipeline, said Goldtooth, who was a key figure at the main Dakota Access camp.

But while scientists might have different carbon pollution estimates, the real issue of Keystone XL is as a symbol at the center of a cantankerous battle over climate change and the fight to keep the world from unsafe levels of warming.

The project could be a boon for Canada, which has struggled to bring its vast oil reserves to market.

"It's going to be an incredible pipeline, the greatest technology known to man or woman", Trump said, with Russ Girling, president of TransCanada, by his side.

  • Rita Burton