Trump is greenlighting the Keystone XL pipeline — but there are still key hurdles left

The pipeline that refuses to die is once more.

On Friday morning, the Trump administration granted approval for the Keystone XL pipeline, a controversial oil problem that had been halted beneath President Barack Obama after years of grassroots protest and fierce opposition from native climate activists.

That, by itself, isn’t adequate to verify the pipeline will get constructed. The State Division has merely allowed the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline to cross the US-Canada border. The company behind the problem, TransCanada, nonetheless should protected a variety of permits and approval in Montana, South Dakota, and significantly Nebraska — the place native environmental activists have vowed to battle the problem every step of the easiest way.

Even so, it’s a massive step for TransCanada. Two years previously, the pipeline — which could help transport 830,000 barrels of oil per day, largely from Canada’s oil sands, proper all the way down to refiners throughout the Gulf Coast — appeared totally moribund. It’s now nearer to revival.

(Javier Zarracina/Vox)

Because of Keystone XL crosses the US-Canada border, it requires a permit from the State Division declaring that the problem is “in the national interest.” That’s how Obama managed to block the pipeline — he argued that the problem, which would help bolster oil sands production in Canada, would undercut America’s “global leadership” on native climate change.

Nonetheless then Donald Trump grew to turn into president. And, in thought-about certainly one of his first acts, he issued an executive order urging TransCanada to make use of for a model new permit, and ordering the State Division to approve it as expeditiously as doable. Trump has made boosting the fortunes of the oil commerce a core focus of his administration. And the State Division has complied.

"This is a significant milestone for the Keystone XL project," acknowledged Russ Girling, TransCanada's CEO in a statement. The company moreover acknowledged it was dropping a swimsuit in opposition to the US authorities beneath Chapter 11 of NAFTA, an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism that allows firms to sue worldwide governments and bypass native courts in disputes.

The battle over the Keystone XL pipeline isn’t completed merely however

The pipeline nonetheless faces extra hurdles, nonetheless. Environmentalists and landowners have prolonged been battling the pipeline in Nebraska, citing concerns leak from the pipeline could damage each the ecologically delicate Sand Hills space or the important water offers throughout the Ogallala aquifer. TransCanada has already rerouted the pipeline’s proposed path in response, nevertheless it’s extra prone to face extra resistance throughout the months ahead.

As Bloomberg reported, environmentalists are already gearing as a lot as drawback the pipeline every step of the easiest way. That options suing the State Division in federal courtroom, arguing that the corporate accepted the pipeline too quickly and relied on outdated information from earlier Obama-era analyses.

Failing that, the first battle will shift to Nebraska’s Public Service Payment, which has to search out out whether or not or not the problem serves most of the people curiosity and is vital for greenlighting the pipeline’s path by the use of the state. TransCanada submitted an software program to the PSC ultimate month, and the charge now has 210 days to weigh public suggestions and hearken to concerns. Primarily based on Bloomberg, better than 40 petitions have been filed each searching for to dam the problem or drive important changes.

“This decision is far from the final word on Keystone XL,” acknowledged Might Boeve, authorities director of, certainly one of many key native climate groups opposing the pipeline, in a press launch. “The same communities who defeated this pipeline before — Indigenous leaders, landowners, farmers, and grassroots activists — are ready to fight again.”

In a press launch Friday, the company simply said: “TransCanada will continue to engage key stakeholders and neighbors throughout Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota to obtain the necessary permits and approvals to advance this project to construction.”

Extra finding out: 9 questions about the Keystone XL pipeline you were too embarrassed to ask