Washington– The Keystone XL pipeline has finally, after eight years, received the Presidential Permit required to build across the Canada-U.S. border.
The announcement was made on March 24, with President Donald Trump bringing in TransCanada president Russ Girling, among others, into the Oval Office to make the announcement.
In one of his first acts as president, Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 24 by which he invited TransCanada to resubmit its application for the pipeline. Its initial application had been kyboshed by former President Barack Obama on Nov. 6, 2015, after seven years of review.
According to a transcript of the announcement on the White House web page, Trump said, “Today, I’m pleased to announce the official approval of the presidential permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. TransCanada will finally be allowed to complete this long overdue project with efficiency and with speed. We’re working out the final details as we speak. It’s going to be an incredible pipeline, greatest technology known to man or woman. And frankly, we’re very proud of it.
He went on, “It’s a great day for American jobs and a historic moment for North American and energy independence. This announcement is part of a new era of American energy policy that will lower costs for American families — and very significantly — reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create thousands of jobs right here in America.
“And I also would like to add I think it’s a lot safer to have pipelines than to use other forms of transportation for your product.
“When completed, the Keystone XL pipeline will span 900 miles — wow — and have the capacity to deliver more than 800,000 barrels of oil per day to the Gulf Coast refineries. That’s some big pipeline.
“The fact is that this $8 billion investment in American energy was delayed for so long — it demonstrates how our government has too often failed its citizens and companies over the past long period of time. Today, we begin to make things right and to do things right. Today we take one more step in putting the jobs, wages, and economic security of American citizens first. Put America first.”
Russ Girling, standing beside Trump in the Oval Office, said, “This is a very, very important day for us — for our company. So on behalf of thousands of people that have worked very hard to get here — as you’ve pointed out, very long time to get here — but we’re very relieved, and very much just want to get to work.
“Some of those folks I have with me today — the building trades with Sean McGarvey; some of our — construction contractor, Quanta; our pipe suppliers from Welspun. There’s thousands of people that are just ready and itching to get to work. We got a lot of work to do in the field, but as you pointed out, this is the safest and most reliable way to move our products to market. We’re going to use the best technology and be able to create thousands of jobs and important tax revenues in local communities.
“That’s something often that’s overlooked in new projects like this, is local communities benefit greatly from these projects. It gives them tax revenues in which they can invest in schools, hospitals, roads, teachers, nurses — all of those things — build the fabric of communities and make those places better for those folks to live.
“So, again, thank you very much for this opportunity, and we’re not going to let you down, sir,” Girling concluded.
Trump asked when construction would begin, to which Girling replied, “Well, we’ve got some work to do in Nebraska to get our permits there…”
The president said he would call the governor of Nebraska that day.
In a press release on March 24, TransCanada said it 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.
In conjunction, TransCanada has discontinued its claim under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and will end its U.S. Constitutional challenge.
The Keystone XL Pipeline Project is a proposed 1,897km, 36-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline, beginning in Hardisty, Alta., and extending south to Steele City, Neb. The project originally ran right to the Texas Gulf Coast, but it was split several years ago and the southern portion has been built and is in operation.
While often overlooked in other media, the up to 15 per cent of the pipeline’s 830,000 bpd capacity is designated for North Dakota-produced Bakken oil, which would join the pipeline at Baker,
The right-of-way cuts across the very southwest corner of Saskatchewan, running from Burstall, right past Shaunavon and crosses the American border at Monchy.
Canada’s National Energy Board approved construction of the Canadian portion in March 2010.