Tillerson has recused himself from the Keystone: State Dept. pipeline problems.

© Reuters. The Secretary of State of the United States, Rex Tillerson, is during a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, at the State Department in Washington.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has recused himself on issues related to TransCanada Corp’s application for a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, the State Department said in a letter to environmental group Greenpeace on Thursday. .

“He has not worked on that matter at the State Department and will play no role in the deliberations or final resolution of the TransCanada application,” read the letter from Katherine McManus, deputy legal counsel for the State Department.

McManus’ letter came after Greenpeace wrote to officials at the State Department and the Office of Government Ethics on Wednesday, urging Tillerson to refrain from any decision on the multi-billion dollar pipeline, given his former position as CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE). 🙂 ..

Greenpeace argued in its letter that Exxon Mobil would benefit “directly and predictably” from the approval of Keystone XL because the company has investments in Canadian oil sands.

Tillerson recused himself from the matter in early February, McManus wrote.

TransCanada tried for more than five years to build the 1,897-kilometer pipeline, until President Barack Obama rejected it in 2015.

TransCanada reapplied for the Keystone project in January after Obama’s successor in the White House, Donald Trump, signed an order paving its way.

The line is designed to connect existing gas pipeline networks in Canada and the United States to carry crude from Alberta and North Dakota to refineries in Illinois en route to the Gulf of Mexico.

Exxon has a majority stake in Imperial Oil, a Calgary, Alberta-based company that operates the Kearl oil sands project in northern Alberta.

“Exxon Mobil could benefit from pipeline approval if it has specific contracts or agreements with TransCanada to transport its Canadian oil sands production or to receive such shipments at its US refineries,” Greenpeace wrote in its letter on Wednesday.

Tillerson wrote in a January letter to McManus that for one year following his resignation from Exxon Mobil, “he will not personally and substantially participate in any particular matter involving specific parties in which I know Exxon Mobil is a party or represents. to a party, unless I am first authorized to participate. “

He also wrote that “on a case-by-case basis,” he would refrain “from engaging in any particular matter involving specific parties in which he determines that a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts would question my impartiality in the matter, unless first is authorized to participate. “

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