President Donald Trump has granted TransCanada the presidential permit President Barack Obama denied it, clearing the way for the completion of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
“This is a very, very important day for us, for our company and so, on behalf of thousands of people that have worked very hard to get here, as you pointed out, very long time to get here, but we’re very relieved and very much just want to get to work,” TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said in an Oval Office ceremony in which President Trump announced his approval of the project.
Girling said his company is eager to build the pipeline.
“There’s thousands of people that are just ready and itching to get to work,” Girling told the president. “We have 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 it will create thousands of jobs and important tax revenues in local communities.”
Trump wrapped up the brief ceremony by asking Girling a question.
“So, the bottom line, Keystone, finished and we’re going to start construction when?” Trump asked.
“We’ve got some work to do in Nebraska to get our permits there,” Girling replied. “We’ve been working there for some time and I do believe we’ll get through that process, but obviously we have to engage with local landowners.”
Girling said TransCanada will be speaking to various groups involved with Keystone in Nebraska over the coming months.
TransCanada dropped efforts to receive a permit in Nebraska after Obama denied the presidential permit. It recently refiled with the Nebraska Public Service Commission.
TransCanada has applied to build the pipeline along the same route evaluated by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and approved by Gov. Dave Heineman in 2013.
Obama rejected Keystone XL, claiming it would have added to greenhouse emissions by carrying crude from the oil sands of western Canada. In his statement, the president said the United States is a global leader in the fight against climate change and approving the Keystone XL pipeline would have undercut that global leadership.
The $8 billion dollar pipeline would carry crude from the oil sands of western Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas. TransCanada needs presidential approval to build the remainder of the pipeline from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska. The southern portion of the pipeline, from Oklahoma City to the Gulf Coast has been completed and is transporting crude.
AUDIO: President Donald Trump announces he has approved the Keystone XL oil pipeline during Oval Office ceremony. [3 min.]