Trump Approves Keystone Pipeline to Advance Agenda of 'Special Interests'

The approval is far from the last word on the project, which would involve construction of a 1,179-mile cross-border pipeline to transport oil from the province of Alberta to Nebraska.

He declared it a "great day for American jobs". The costs and benefits of the pipeline have been hotly debated, however, and many experts believe it will have only a small impact on the US economy.

The Calgary-based firm, TransCanada has been trying to win approval for the pipeline for almost 10 years, it announced that the State Department has signed and issued a construction permit for the project. State Department spokesman Mark Toner wouldn't reveal the decision, but said the agency had re-examined Keystone thoroughly after ruling against the proposed project barely two years ago.

In fact, despite Friday's green light from the State Department environmentalists have thrown more obstacles in front of the pipeline. But those jobs are temporary.

The State Department estimated that construction of Keystone XL would contribute $3.4 billion to the nation's output. The Paris agreement compels the US and other countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions in coming decades.

Farmers, landowners and Native American tribes are battling the pipeline, as are national environmental groups and climate activists. "We will put heavy pressure on them", he said.

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

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The $8 billion long-disputed project would span 900 miles, connecting existing pipelines to deliver tar sands crude oil derived in Canada and North Dakota with refineries and exporters in the Texas Gulf Coast.

Members of South Dakota's all-Republican congressional delegation say the Trump administration's approval of the pipeline will help encourage economic growth.

TransCanada has been trying to expand the Keystone pipeline for more than eight years. But in January he had leavened his optimism with some doubts because of uncertainty about demand from oil producers. The US imports almost half of the almost 8 million barrels a day of crude from Canada. It would move roughly 800,000 barrels of oil per day.

Trump did not repeat an earlier promise that the steel to make the Keystone XL pipeline would be American. Tillerson previously served as CEO of oil giant Exxon Mobil. Tillerson recused himself from the pipeline decision. The company has already acquired the steel, much of it from Canada and Mexico, and the White House has acknowledged it's too hard to impose conditions on a pipeline already under construction.

Canada is the world's sixth-largest oil producer thanks to the Alberta oil sands. It's not clear that Keystone XL will eventually lead to lower prices - it could have the reverse effect.

During the USA presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly promised to approve the pipeline, and one of his first acts after taking office in January was to give a conditional go-ahead, as well as approving the controversial Dakota Access pipeline that was subject to months of mass protests. "I have full confidence that the Public Service Commission will conduct a thorough and fair review of the application", he said.The White House has said the pipeline is exempt from a Trump executive order requiring new pipelines to be made from US steel, because much of the pipe for the project has already been built and stockpiled.

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