Trump issues new permit for Keystone XL pipeline

The proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline in northeastern Montana. Sources: USGS, U.S. Census Bureau, Montana DEQ (Eric Dietrich/Montana Free Press)

President Donald Trump on Friday issued a new permit for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, replacing a 2017 permit that a federal judge in Montana blocked in November.

The State Department issued the original permit in 2017, allowing TransCanada to build the pipeline and maintain facilities at the Montana border with Canada.

A federal judge blocked the permit last November, holding the State Department did not properly consider the impacts the pipeline would have before approving the move.

The case is currently pending in the Ninth Circuit, which earlier this week delayed briefing in the case at the administration’s request.

The permit Trump issued on Friday comes directly from the White House and replaces the permit the Montana judge halted.

In a statement on Friday, TransCanada hailed the move as showing the Trump administration’s “steadfast support” in the project.

“President Trump has been clear that he wants to create jobs and advance U.S. energy security and the Keystone XL pipeline does both of those things,” TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling said in a statement. “We thank President Trump for his leadership and steadfast support to enable the advancement of this critical energy infrastructure project in North America.”

The pipeline has long drawn opposition from environmental groups and Native American tribes and organizations, who say the pipeline would tread over sites of historical and spiritual significance as well as endanger the environment.

Montana judge blocks construction of Keystone XL pipeline