President Trump signed permits Friday for construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline that had been blocked by the Obama administration, saying the reversal is part of his efforts “to do things right” for American jobs and energy production.
“It’s a great day for American jobs and a historic moment for North America and energy independence,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “Today we begin to make things right and to do things right.”
The State Department under Mr. Trump finally approved the Keystone XL oil pipeline, ending a back-and-forth process inside the federal government that lasted nearly a decade.
Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon issued the presidential permit Friday morning, representing the Trump administration’s formal green-lighting of the Canada-to-Texas pipeline. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had recused himself from the Keystone review process.
The president said the project should not have been blocked.
“The fact is that this $8 billion investment in American energy was delayed for so long, it demonstrates how our government has too often failed its citizens and companies over the past long period of time,” Mr. Trump said. “Today we take one more step in putting the jobs, wages and economic security of American citizens first.”
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TransCanada, the company that will built the project, praised Mr. Trump for undoing the decision of his predecessor.
“We greatly appreciate President Trump’s administration for reviewing and approving this important initiative and we look forward to working with them as we continue to invest in and strengthen North America’s energy infrastructure,” said TransCanada CEO Russ Girling.
The Obama administration rejected Keystone in late 2015 citing concerns over climate change, even though the State Department’s research has found the pipeline won’t raise North American greenhouse-gas emissions but will create more than 40,000 jobs. When completed, the pipeline would carry oil from Alberta, Canada, through the U.S. heartland to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
The battle over Keystone now moves to Nebraska, where the pipeline still does not have a legal route through the state. Environmental groups are vowing new legal challenges in Nebraska in a last-ditch effort to stop the project.
Mr. Trump said the pipeline “will have the capacity to deliver more than 800,000 barrels of oil per day to the Gulf Coast refineries. That’s some big pipeline. “I think it’s a lot safer to have pipelines than to use other forms of transportation for your product.”
He hinted at other energy projects to come soon.
“As the Keystone XL Pipeline now moves forward, this is just the first of many energy and infrastructure projects that my administration will approve, and we’ve already approved a couple of other very, very big ones which we’ll be announcing soon, in order to help put Americans back to work, grow our economy and rebuild our nation,” the president said.
Mr. Trump was seated behind his desk holding to be what he described as a “permit” for the construction of the Keystone pipeline. Standing around him were Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, senior adviser Jared Kushner, Mr. Girling, and representatives from the building trades.
“We’re not going to let you down,” Mr. Girling told the president.