US State Department Issues Permit For Keystone XL Pipeline

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A permit clears the way for the Keystone XL pipeline to start construction.

Pipeline company TransCanada says that in conjunction with the Trump administration signing off on its pipeline, it will drop a claim for more than $15 billion that it filed under the North American Free Trade Agreement. ETP said in court documents Monday it expected to have the pipeline operating this week.

"This is a significant milestone for the Keystone XL project", TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said in a statement.

But she says other proposed pipelines that would connect oilsands crude to Canada's Atlantic and Pacific coasts - Energy East and the Trans Mountain expansion - are also needed if the industry is to reduce its reliance on rail transport.

TransCanada's USA -listed shares (TRP.N) jumped 3.7 percent to $49.50 in premarket trading.

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Obama in 2015 rejected the pipeline after years of study, saying it would undercut USA credibility in the worldwide climate change negotiations that culminated later that year in a global deal in Paris.

The move comes barely two months after Trump, only days into his presidency, signed an executive order aimed at reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

Opponents object to the pipeline because it further promotes the use of fossil fuels - although there already are hundreds of oil and gas pipelines crisscrossing the United States - but also say Canada's oil sands are particularly harmful. The company said it expects that process to conclude this year. That timeline was to expire Monday.

Similarly, Native American groups have argued that the pipeline would cut across their sovereign lands.

The Keystone XL was rejected by former President Barack Obama in November 2015 after a seven-year review. Canada can and should be a reliable partner for the U.S. as it seeks "reliable sources" of energy, Trudeau said.

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Following the President's memorandum, TransCanada was quick to submit a fresh application for obtaining the permit.

The State Department estimated that construction of Keystone XL would contribute $3.4 billion to the nation's output. In addition, environmentalist groups are wary that construction of the pipeline - and a potential leak - would impact sources of fresh water like the Ogallala Aquifer, which would be near the Keystone XL pipeline. "There is a lot of work ahead for TransCanada".

The multi-billion dollar Keystone pipeline would bring more than 800,000 barrels-per-day of heavy crude from Canada's oil sands to USA refineries and ports along the Gulf of Mexico, via an existing pipeline network in Nebraska.

The project could be a boon for Canada, which has struggled to get its vast oil reserves to market. "The importance of a common, continental energy market can not be overstated".

US Chamber of Commerce president Thomas Donohue said Friday the pipeline was an example of the "major infrastructure improvements necessary for a modern economy" and hailed the issuing of the permit.

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