The US Department of State issued a presidential permit for
the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline more than 8
years after sponsor TransCanada Corp. originally sought
cross-border approval of the project. Under-Secretary for Po-
litical Affairs Thomas A. Shannon Jr. signed the permit after
President Donald J. Trump reversed his predecessor Barack
Obama’s decision and said the project would be in the US
national interest (OGJ Online, Jan. 24, 2017).
TransCanada Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling said,
“We greatly appreciate President Trump’s administration for
reviewing and approving this important initiative, and we
look forward to working with them as we continue to invest
in and strengthen North America’s energy infrastructure.”
In making his determination that issuance of this per-
mit would serve the national interest, Shannon considered a
range of factors, including but not limited to foreign policy;
energy security; environmental, cultural, and economic im-
pacts; and compliance with applicable law and policy, DOS
said in its Mar. 24 announcement.
Officials from oil and gas and other business associations
welcomed the news. Environmental and other organizations,
which fought the permit application for years, were displeased.
The battle had centered on a larger system’s proposed segment
that would run from Hardisty, Alta., to Steele City, Neb.
TransCanada will continue to engage key stakeholders
and neighbors throughout Nebraska, Montana, and South
Dakota to obtain the necessary permits and approvals to advance the project to construction, Girling said.
An important project
“Today’s action to approve the Keystone XL pipeline’s cross-
border permit is welcome news and is critical to creating
American jobs, growing the economy, and making our na-
tion more energy secure,” American Petroleum Institute
Pres. Jack N. Gerard said on Mar. 24. American Fuel & Pet-
rochemical Manufacturers Pres. Chet Thompson called the
announcement “a welcome shot in the arm for America’s
energy producers who are eager to fulfill President Trump’s
America First Energy Plan.”
Association of Oil Pipe Lines Pres. Andrew J. Black said,
“The Trump administration is keeping its promise to bring
new jobs and benefits from energy infrastructure to the
American people by building pipelines.”
Consumer Energy Alliance Pres. David Holt said, “The
Keystone XL Pipeline will provide American refineries with a
stable supply of oil, American drivers with lower gasoline and
diesel prices, American workers with high-paying jobs, and
the American economy with a much-needed shot in the arm.”
US Chamber of Commerce Pres. Thomas J. Donahue said,
“Today’s action should send a clear message to investors, and
important strategic partners like Canada, that things have
changed in Washington.”
Next steps along route
In Nebraska, where landowners had expressed concern
about possible leaks from the proposed pipeline adversely
affecting water supplies in the Ogallala Aquifer, Gov. Pete
Ricketts (R) said Keystone XL’s receiving its presidential permit approval would help secure energy infrastructure in the
Cornhusker State as well as nationally while creating jobs
and improving the country’s energy security.
“The project will also benefit Nebraska by bringing an estimated additional $11.8 million in property tax revenue in
the first year to 12 Nebraska counties,” he said.
TransCanada applied for Nebraska PCS approval of a
route for the Keystone XL pipeline on Feb. 16, according to
the agency’s web site. Formal interventions had to be submitted by Mar. 22, and a planning conference will be held
7-10 days after that date.
The commission expects on Apr. 17 to schedule a subsequent public hearing on the application as well as other public meetings along the pipeline’s route through June. Another
hearing will be held on July 17 or later, with the final order
anticipated on Sept. 14 or later.
In North Dakota, where Keystone XL was expected to
pick up some light Bakken crude in addition to the heavier
diluent it would carry from Alberta’s oil sands, the state’s
two US senators each welcomed news that the cross-border
permit had been issued.
John Hoeven (R) called it “a clear signal that our nation is
once again open for business and that we are committed to
building the infrastructure we need now and in the future.”
Heidi Heitkamp (D), meanwhile, said, “While there are
still several steps before construction can begin, today’s announcement is important to renewing the United States’
commitment toward mutually beneficial energy solutions
US State Department issues long-awaited
permit for Keystone XL pipeline