Keystone XL Pipeline Approved

The Department of State issued a Presidential permit to TransCanada authorizing the construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline segment at the U.S.-Canadian border. The Obama administration had previously rejected TransCanada’s permit application, in part due to concerns about the effects of the pipeline on climate change. However, President Trump signaled his intent to reverse course on that decision on January 24, 2017, when he issued a Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which invited TransCanada to re-submit its application and directed the Secretary of State to receive the application and take all actions necessary and appropriate to facilitate its expeditious review.

The Department of State did not conduct a new analysis of the environmental, economic, or social impacts of the pipeline prior to approving the permit. In a press briefing on the issue, the Department spokesperson said the pipeline approval will not undermine America’s leadership on climate change. This directly contradicts the Obama administration’s determination that the pipeline approval would have undercut global leadership on climate change (which was based on an in depth review of environmental impacts).