Trump OKs Keystone pipeline, calling it 'great day' for jobs

President Donald Trump declared it a "great day for American jobs" Friday as he formally green-lighted the Keystone XL pipeline, clearing the way for the $8 billion project to finally be completed.

That reverses former President Barack Obama's 2015 decision to reject the controversial pipeline. "A lot of jobs in this country are tied to energy and construction".

"The dirty and unsafe Keystone XL pipeline is one of the worst deals imaginable for the American people, so of course Donald Trump supports it".

The Calgary-based firm, TransCanada has been trying to win approval for the pipeline for almost 10 years, it announced that the State Department has signed and issued a construction permit for the project.

With the approval, TransCanada said that it will drop the $15 billion claim that it filed under the North American Free Trade Agreement and a lawsuit it had filed claiming that Obama's decision was unconstitutional.

TransCanada promised as many as 13,000 construction jobs, and Trump once predicted it "could be 42,000 jobs".

The State Department also estimates that about 16,100 additional jobs will be created during the construction via firms awarded contracts for materials and services. Trump joked that he will call the state's Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts about the issue.

The State Department was formally responsible for the permit TransCanada was given to construct a line that crosses the USA border.

"Nebraska? I'll call Nebraska", he said.

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission previous year voted to accept pipeline developer TransCanada Corp.'s guarantee that it would meet all conditions laid out by the commission when it approved that state's portion of the project in 2010.

Keystone would strengthen US energy security by increasing access to Canada's "dependable supply of crude oil", said the State Department, which had jurisdiction because the pipeline crosses the U.S. French Hill, R-Ark., praised Trump for "proving that he is serious about North American energy independence, job growth, and private infrastructure spending".

"We're hopeful that those timelines are real and if they're not, then we'll do whatever we can to advocate for them moving faster", Notley told reporters Friday.

"The same communities who defeated this pipeline before - indigenous leaders, landowners, farmers and grass-roots activists - are ready to fight again", says 350.org Executive Director May Boeve.

Environmental groups fought the Keystone pipeline in Washington, D.C., and during rallies at field locations that would be affected by the installations. "We have already approved a couple of other very, very big ones which we'll be announcing soon, in order to help put Americans back to work, grow our economy and rebuild our nation", he said.

Trump said the pipeline is just the first of many energy and infrastructure projects that his administration will approve.

Robert Kwan at RBC Capital Markets said news of Friday's permit was neutral for TransCanada since it was so widely anticipated, and that he still isn't including Keystone XL in his valuation of the company.

The Keystone XL pipeline would bring more than 800,000 barrels per day of heavy crude from Canada's oil sands in Alberta into Nebraska, linking to an existing pipeline network feeding USA refineries and ports along the Gulf of Mexico.

Other opponents of the project pointed to sluggish global oil prices and the high cost of mining and processing the thick, sandy crude as reasons why major petroleum developers have abandoned projects in Canada.

  • Wendy Palmer