Keystone XL Moving Forward As Company Applies for Essential Permit

By Yessenia Funes Jan 27, 2017

The company behind the Keystone XL Pipeline announced yesterday (January 26) that it applied for a vital permit to jumpstart construction of the 1,179-mile long project that would connect the crude oil from the Alberta oil sands in Canada to existing lines in Kansas.

TransCanada submitted an application to the U.S. Department of State for a presidential permit, which authorizes construction and such at the border. A permit approval would give TransCanada the green light to cross the U.S.-Canada border.

This is the same type of permit the Barack Obama administration rejected in 2015. The Secretary of State is responsible for issuing presidential permits, and former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson will soon have the power to grant one, provided he is confirmed after his Senate hearing next week.

However, this permit wouldn’t guarantee the pipeline’s completion. Landowners in Nebraska are likely to reignite legal battles, and the state also needs to issue the company a final route permit. In addition, any private land or waterways require a separate permitting process that would offer landowners, the Army Corps of Engineers and state regulators the opportunity to weigh in on the future of the pipeline.