Trump greenlights Keystone XL pipeline, but obstacles loom

Sat Mar 25, 2017 4:52pm EDT
 
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By Jeff Mason and Ethan Lou

WASHINGTON/CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's administration approved TransCanada Corp's (TRP.TO: Quote) Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, cheering the oil industry and angering environmentalists even as further hurdles for the controversial project loom.

The approval reverses a decision by former President Barack Obama to reject the project, but the company still needs to win financing, acquire local permits, and fend off likely legal challenges for the pipeline to be built.

"TransCanada will finally be allowed to complete this long-overdue project with efficiency and with speed," Trump said in the Oval Office before turning to ask TransCanada Chief Executive Officer Russell Girling when construction would start.

"We've got some work to do in Nebraska to get our permits there," Girling replied.

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

Trump announced the presidential permit for Keystone XL at the White House with Girling and Sean McGarvey, president of North America's Building Trades Unions, standing nearby. He said the project would lower consumer fuel prices, create jobs and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

The pipeline linking Canadian oil sands to U.S. refiners had been blocked by Obama, who said it would do nothing to reduce fuel prices for U.S. motorists and would contribute to emissions linked to global warming.

Trump, however, campaigned on a promise to approve it, and he signed an executive order soon after taking office in January to advance the project.   Continued...

 
U.S. President Donald Trump smiles after announcing a permit for TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL oil pipeline while TransCanada Chief Executive Officer Russell Girling (L), U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (C) and Energy Secretary Rick Perry (R) stand beside him in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque