The U.S. State Department has approved TransCanada's presidential permit for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which was blocked by the administration of former President Barack Obama.
The Keystone XL will connect tar sands operations in Alberta with an American pipeline network running all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, allowing Canadian oil firms to transport up to 800,000 bpd of crude to Gulf Coast refiners and export terminals. In Canadian regulatory filings, consultants for TransCanada suggested that this will improve downstream profitability and raise prices in the American markets that rely on a captive supply of Canadian oil (primarily the American Midwest). The State Department says that the pipeline will create up to three dozen permanent jobs, in addition to 3,900 construction jobs.
"TransCanada will finally be able to complete this long-overdue project with efficiency and with speed," President Donald Trump said in an Oval Office press conference Friday morning. "It's gonna be an incredible pipeline, the greatest technology known to man, or woman, and frankly we're very proud of it."
The American Petroleum Institute responded positively to the news of the Keystone's approval. “Today’s action to approve the Keystone XL pipeline’s cross-border permit is welcome news and is critical to creating American jobs, growing the economy, and making our nation more energy secure,” said API president and CEO Jack Gerard. “Moving forward, we strongly urge the individual states, which stand to benefit from the Keystone XL pipeline, to approve this important project."
Environmental groups and activists with Native American tribes have long opposed Keystone XL, and in statements Friday they promised to protest its construction. A day of action in Washington scheduled for April 29 will feature opposition to Keystone XL, and anti-fossil fuel organization 350.org says that it will press members of Congress to renounce their support of the pipeline during the spring recess.
"Donald Trump likes to talk a big game when it comes to laying pipe, but landowners, native nations and climate activists aren't going to let him get away with [it]," said Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of "Keep it in the Ground" coalition member Oil Change International.