Construction of the Keystone pipeline was officially given the go ahead, with the signing of a Presidential permit. After the Department of State’s review of the application by TransCanada, President Donald Trump formally signed the order, on March 24, 2017. This will permit the Canadian company to construct and connect the Keystone pipeline at the U.S. Canadian border.
The Presidential permit, to allow the long-debated Keystone pipeline was signed and issued by the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas A. Shannon Jr. The order gives TransCanada the authorization to build, connect, and manage all services related to the project at the Phillips County, Montana border.
Trump Made Good on Promise of Keystone Pipeline Construction
Former President Barack Obama’s refusal to give permission for the pipeline to be constructed was in opposition to Trump, who cited that the U.S. needed the pipeline for the creation of jobs. After the order for the Keystone pipeline was officially granted, Trump announced, “Today we begin to make things right.”
Executive memos were signed by Trump on Jan. 24, 2017, as a starting point to allow the progress of two pipeline projects. Those memos indicated that, although final U.S. terms and conditions still needed to be negotiated, TransCanada would be able to construct the Keystone pipeline. Energy Transfer Partners will be allowed to complete the portion of the Dakota Access pipeline.
Many factors were taken into consideration by Shannon in making his final determination to issue the permit for the Keystone pipeline production. After contemplating the many elements that the pipeline has been debated to effect, including environmental, cultural, foreign policy, and the economy, the undersecretary okayed the permit.
Shannon was given the signing task after Secretary of State, Rex W. Tillerson, recused himself from the decision-making process. This was due to Tillerson’s former position as chief executive at Exxon Mobile. His signing of the Keystone pipeline project could have been viewed as a conflict of interest.
Although the order was signed, the Keystone pipeline will still need the Nebraska Public Service Commission to approve it. Nebraska landowners are concerned about their land rights, as well as the impact the Keystone pipeline project will have on the safety of their water. Environmental groups are vowing to help local parties in the barring of its construction. Rhea Suh, the Natural Resources Defense Council president, noted, “We’ll use every tool in the kit to stop this dangerous tar sands oil pipeline project.”
Obama denied Keystone Pipeline in Protection of the US
Both Obama and the former Secretary of State John Kerry gave several factors in rejecting the project in 2015. In line with his decision, Obama stated that the Keystone pipeline project would weaken U.S. efforts in the quest to stop relying on other nations for carbon fuels. The former president also cited concerns
The former president also cited concerns regarding the adverse effects of the Keystone pipeline construction on Nebraska’s Sandhills ecosystem. Obama stated that a review made of the impact that the pipeline would have on the environment was inadequate.
In rejection of the Keystone pipeline project, Kerry commented that proceeding would not give any meaningful contributions to the U.S. economy, nor lower gas prices. Furthermore, Kerry added that his denial to the Keystone pipeline project also had to do with worries about its effect on communities, U.S. water supplies, and sites of cultural heritage. He noted the hurtful effect that a fuel source, that is predominantly dirty, would bring if transported into the U.S.
In summing up his reason for his denying the Keystone pipeline, Kerry stated: “The critical factor in my determination was this: moving forward with this project would significantly undermine our ability to continue leading the world in combating climate change.”
Keystone Pipeline Part of Trump’s Plan to Stop Pro-Environmental Initiatives
In a vast contrast to Obama’s Climate Action Plan, Trump is vowing to stop environmental initiatives that he believes hurts job growth. Upon taking office, a direct statement was posted on the White House website.
“President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years.”
The former president strived to promote a healthier environment as, “a moral obligation to leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged.” Obama’s Climate Action Plan was his strategy to cut carbon pollution, by creating ways for the U.S. to develop their own safe energy resources, and slow down climate change effects.
The signing to permit construction of the Keystone pipeline is just part of Trump’s promise to call off Obama’s Climate Action Plan. The president is also stating his wishes to remove the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, a deal to reduce the further impact on global warming. The agreement was originally adopted by 195 countries at the Paris climate conference in 2015.
By Carol Ruth Weber
Edited by Tracy Blake and Jessica Hamel
U.S. Department of State: Issuance of Presidential Permit to TransCanada for Keystone XL Pipeline
The New York Times: U.S., in Reversal, Issues Permit for Keystone Oil Pipeline
CNBC: Trump signs executive actions to advance Keystone XL, Dakota Access pipelines
The White House President Barack Obama: FACT SHEET: President Obama’s Climate Action Plan
Reuters: Trump takes aim at Obama Climate Action Plan -White House website
Featured and Top Image by Office of the President of the United States Courtesy of Wikimedia – Public Domain
Inset Image by shannonpatrick17 from Swanton, Nebraska, U.S.A. Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License