Exclusive: Trump to approve Keystone XL in meeting with TransCanada CEO – official

© Reuters. A reservoir used to store pipes for Transcanada Corp’s planned Keystone XL pipeline is seen in Gascoyne

By Luciana Lopez

(Reuters) – US President Donald Trump will announce the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline at the White House on Friday, along with the chief executive of construction company TransCanada Corp, according to a senior administration official.

The pipeline linking the Canadian oil sands to American refineries had been blocked by former President Barack Obama, who said the pipeline would do nothing to lower fuel prices for American motorists and contribute to emissions related to global warming. .

Trump signed an executive order to push the project forward shortly after taking office in January, saying it would create thousands of jobs.

The administration official said among those scheduled to be at the White House for the 10:15 a.m. EDT announcement are TransCanada CEO Russell Girling and Sean McGarvey, president of the Construction Unions of America. from North.

Accelerated project approval is part of Trump’s approach to a 10-year, $ 1 trillion infrastructure package he promised in the election campaign. The White House is looking for ways to speed up approvals and permits for infrastructure projects, which can sometimes take years to navigate the maze of regulatory requirements.

“It does fit into the general strategy that the president has for infrastructure,” the official said.

The multi-billion dollar Keystone pipeline would carry more than 800,000 barrels per day of heavy crude from Canada’s oil sands in Alberta to Nebraska, connecting to an existing pipeline network that feeds US refineries and ports along the Gulf of Mexico.

Approvals from state regulators are still needed and the pipeline could face legal challenges.

Conservatives have said they support speedy passage. Nick Loris, an energy and environment researcher at the Heritage Foundation, said Thursday that the approval “would restore some certainty and sanity in a permitting process that was hijacked for political complacency.”

Environmental groups that have opposed the pipeline have said they will continue the fight with petitions, political pressure and mass protests.

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