Today, the pipeline-related topic moves to the grandaddy of all the conflict lobby’s boogeymen – the Keystone XL pipeline – and the Trump Administration’s announcement that the State Department has issued the cross-border permit necessary for Trans-Canada to proceed with completion of the northern leg of the Keystone system. Friday’s announcement states that the State Department “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.”
The decision by the State Department comes as no surprise, given that it follows an executive order issued by President Trump in January, which instructed State to make a decision on whether to issue the permit after a study period to last no more than 60 days. It is also in line with Trump’s “America First Energy Plan” which focuses on ways to make the U.S. less dependent on imports of oil from the Middle East. Keystone XL, if completed, will carry large volumes of Canadian oil sands crude into the United States to be refined and consumed.