President Donald Trump issued a new permit for the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday in an attempt to undermine recent moves by a Montana court to block the project.
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The controversial TransCanada Corporation’s Keystone XL pipeline was first proposed under President George W. Bush but then later stopped by President Barack Obama, whose administration cited potential pollution concerns. In one of the first big moves of his presidency, Trump overturned Obama’s decision and said it would benefit the economy. The president approved the development with an executive order.
More than 10 years after it was first proposed, the pipeline continues to face backlash from environmental groups and lawmakers over its potential to contribute to global warming.
The pipeline would move 800,000 barrels of crude oil daily from Canada down through the Central Plains to the Gulf Coast. Because the pipeline moves across borders, it requires a presidential permit.
TransCanada Corporation celebrated the decision in a statement.
“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,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer. “We thank President Trump for his leadership and steadfast support to enable the advancement of this critical energy infrastructure project for North America.”
“The magnitude of the work on this project has been extensive. The Keystone XL pipeline has been studied more than any other pipeline in history and the environmental reviews are clear – the project can be built and operated in an environmentally sustainable and responsible way,” Girling said.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said they were “pleased” with Trump’s action.
“We’re pleased to see action that will help clear the way for development of the Keystone XL pipeline," Christopher Guith, Acting President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute said in a statement. "The Keystone XL pipeline is one of the most studied pieces of infrastructure in American history.”
But Anthony Swift, director of the Canada project at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) underscored concerns that the pipeline “would drive dangerous climate change.”
“The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline was a bad idea from Day One and it remains a terrible idea. If built, it would threaten our land, our drinking water, and our communities from Montana and Nebraska to the Gulf Coast,” Swift said.
“President Trump is once again showing his disdain for the rule of law. Last time the president tried to ram this permit through he lost in court. We are going to continue to fight this dangerous tar sands pipeline proposal.”