The Trump administration is expected to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline by Monday, marking the next stage in a nearly nine-year battle over the project’s fate.
Two sources familiar with the administration’s plans told Politico that Tom Shannon, the Department of States undersecretary for political affairs, will soon sign a cross-border permit TransCanada, the company building Keystone XL, needs for the project to move forward.
President Donald Trump issued an executive memorandum in January inviting TransCanada to resubmit its pipeline application to the State Department for approval. Trump made approving Keystone XL a major campaign promise.
TransCanada submitted its proposal to build Keystone XL in 2008. The 1,200-mile pipeline would carry oil sands from Alberta, Canada to Gulf Coast refineries. Democrats and Environmentalists opposed the project, sparking years of protests and political lobbying to kill the project.
The Obama administration rejected the Keystone XL pipeline in late 2015 after seven years of review, arguing it would tarnish the U.S.’s reputation as a leader on reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Interestingly enough, Obama’s own State Department’s environmental review of the pipeline determined it would have no significant impacts on carbon emissions or the environment.
TransCanada filed a $15 billion lawsuit against the Obama administration for allegedly violating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). That lawsuit could soon be moot.
The 60-day timeline Trump set for reconsidering Keystone XL will end Monday. Sources say a decision on the project will be issued by then.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recused himself from the approval process.
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