Trump issues new permit for stalled Keystone XL pipeline

The permit issued Friday replaces one granted in March 2017

Moving defiantly to kick-start the long-stalled Keystone XL oil pipeline, President Donald Trump on Friday issued a new presidential permit for the project — two years after he first approved it and more than a decade after it was first proposed.

Trump said the permit issued Friday replaces one granted in March 2017. The order is intended to speed up development of the controversial pipeline, which would ship crude oil from tar sands in western Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

A federal judge blocked the project in November, saying the Trump administration had not fully considered potential oil spills and other impacts. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris ordered a new environmental review.

A White House spokesman said the new permit issued by Trump “dispels any uncertainty” about the project. “Specifically, this permit reinforces, as should have been clear all along, that the presidential permit is indeed an exercise of presidential authority that is not subject to judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act,” the spokesman said.

READ MORE: U.S. government appeals ruling that blocked Keystone pipeline

READ MORE: U.S. judge blocks construction of $10-billion Keystone XL pipeline

But a lawyer for environmentalists who sued to stop the project called Trump’s action illegal. The lawyer, Stephan Volker, vowed to seek a court order blocking project developer TransCanada from moving forward with construction.

“By his action today in purporting to authorize construction” of the pipeline despite court rulings blocking it, “President Trump has launched a direct assault on our system of governance,” Volker said Friday in an email.

Trump’s attempt to “overturn our system of checks and balances is nothing less than an attack on our Constitution. It must be defeated,” Volker said.

Calgary-based TransCanada said in a statement that Trump’s order “clarifies the national importance of Keystone XL and aims to bring more than 10 years of environmental review to closure.”

Trump “has been clear that he wants to create jobs and advance U.S. energy security, and the Keystone XL pipeline does both of those things,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and CEO.

WATCH: Alberta still pushing for Keystone XL pipeline after U.S. stoppage

Keystone XL will create thousands of jobs and deliver crude oil to U.S. refineries “in the safest, most efficient and environmentally sound way,” the company said. An appeal filed by the company is pending.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hailed Trump’s action, saying in a statement that “it shouldn’t take longer to approve a project than to build it.”

Keystone XL will boost U.S. economic and energy security interests, said Christopher Guith, acting president of the chamber’s Global Energy Institute. “Review after review has found it can be built and operated in an environmentally responsible way. It’s time to move forward,” Guith said.

Anthony Swift, director of the Canada project for the Natural Resources Defence Council, an environmental group, said the pipeline “was a bad idea from Day One and it remains a terrible idea. If built, it would threaten our land, our drinking water, and our communities from Montana and Nebraska to the Gulf Coast. And it would drive dangerous climate change.”

Trump “is once again showing his disdain for the rule of law,” Swift said, adding that the last time Trump “tried to ram this permit through he lost in court” and is likely to do so again.

Keystone XL, first proposed in 2008 under President George W. Bush, would begin in Alberta and go to Nebraska, where it would join with an existing pipeline to shuttle more than 800,000 barrels a day of crude to terminals on the Gulf Coast.

After years of study and delay, former President Barack Obama rejected the project in 2015. Trump reversed that decision soon after taking office in 2017, saying the $8 billion project would boost American energy and create jobs. A presidential permit is needed because the project crosses a U.S. border.

After environmental groups sued, Morris said the administration had not fully considered potential oil spills and other impacts and that further reviews were needed.

TransCanada disputes that, saying Keystone XL has been studied more than any other pipeline in history. “The environmental reviews are clear: the project can be built and operated in an environmentally sustainable and responsible way,” Girling said.

Associated Press writer Matthew Brown in Billings, Mont., contributed to this story.

Matthew Daly, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Summer never ends at Port Alberni’s DRAW Gallery

Exhibit showcases four new Ucluelet artists

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses claim against Island Corridor Foundation

Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation was seeking return of reserve land as railway sits unused

Port Alberni RCMP searching for missing man

Jeff Buck was last seen June 25, 2020

QUINN’S QUIPS: Ramsay family of Port Alberni takes a grad trip of a lifetime

Family got caught in Europe as countries were closing their borders due to COVID-19

ARTS AROUND: Creative carvings on display at Rollin Art Centre

July’s exhibit will feature artists Cecil Dawson, Allen Halverson, Nigel Atkin and others

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Most Read