The Trump administration gave the Keystone XL pipeline its key federal permit Friday, clearing a major hurdle for the project that former President Obama rejected in 2015.
The State Department announced Friday morning that its undersecretary for political affairs, Tom Shannon, issued the permit, two months after President Trump signed a memorandum to revive the project after Obama’s rejection.
“In making his determination that issuance of this permit would serve the national interest, the under secretary considered a range of factors, including but not limited to foreign policy; energy security; environmental, cultural, and economic impacts; and compliance with applicable law and policy,” State said.
The decision closes a significant chapter in the long-running saga over the controversial oil sands pipeline, which has been a flashpoint in the debate surrounding climate change and dependence on foreign oil.
Obama rejected the application in November 2015, arguing, in part, that it would harm the United States’ standing in the world as a leader in fighting climate change.
“Ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky,” he said at the time.
The approval fulfills a major campaign promise of Trump’s and a top priority that congressional Republicans and the oil industry have had for years.