Trump issues a new permit for the Keystone XL pipeline

More than a decade after the project was first proposed, American President Donald Trump issued a new presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, two years after he first approved it. The permit issued replaces one granted in March 2017 and the order is intended speed up development of the pipeline, which would ship crude oil from the oilsands in western Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

In November, federal District Judge Brian Morris blocked the project, claiming the Trump administration had not fully considered potential oil spills and other impacts and ordered a new environmental review.

An appeal filed by the project’s developer, Calgary-based TransCanada, is pending. Russ Girling, TransCanada’s President and CEO said President Trump “has been clear that he wants to create jobs and advance U.S. energy security, and the Keystone XL pipeline does both of those things.” The company said in a statement that Trump’s order “clarifies the national importance of Keystone XL and aims to bring more than 10 years of environmental review to closure” and Keystone XL will create thousands of jobs and deliver crude oil to U.S. refineries “in the safest, most efficient and environmentally sound way.

The Keystone XL was first proposed in 2008 under former President George W. Bush. The pipeline would begin in Alberta and go to Nebraska, where it would join with an existing pipeline to shuttle more than 800,000 barrels a day of crude to terminals on the Gulf Coast. After years of delay, former President Barack Obama rejected the project in 2015.  President Trump reversed that decision soon after taking office in 2017, saying the USD $8 billion project would boost American energy and create jobs. A presidential permit is needed because the project crosses a U.S. border.

TransCanada disputes claims by environmental groups who say the administration had not fully considered potential oil spills and other impacts and that further reviews were needed. In fact, Keystone XL has been studied more than any other pipeline in history. “The environmental reviews are clear: the project can be built and operated in an environmentally sustainable and responsible way,” Mr. Girling said.