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Trump’s Keystone XL pipeline approval is good news for Alberta
President Trump has been in office less than a week, but he has already made good on a key campaign promise that many in Alberta were looking for, approving the Keystone XL pipeline with an executive order.
He signed actions on Tuesday morning to advance the construction of the line as well as the Dakota Access pipeline.
However, both projects will be subject to terms and conditions that will be renegotiated by American authorities.
“This is with regard to the construction of the Keystone pipeline, something that’s been in dispute,” President Trump said on Tuesday. “It’s subject to a renegotiation of terms by us. We are going to renegotiate some of the terms. If they’d like, we’ll see if we can get the pipeline built. A lot of jobs. 28,000 jobs. Great construction jobs.”
Some of the conditions that Trump is looking for are that the actual pipe used for the line must be manufactured in the United States and the assembly, at least in areas south of the border, must be done by Americans.
"If we're going to build pipelines in the United States, the pipes should be made in the United States. Much pipeline is built from other countries. From now on, we're going to start making pipeline in the United States... It'll put a lot of steel workers back to work," he said.
Officials in Alberta are happy with Trump’s decision to go ahead with Keystone.
"This project is going to create good jobs in Alberta," Premier Rachel Notley said. "And that's my focus; support our workers, create good jobs and diversify our economy. More energy workers at our rural hotels are a good thing."
Mayor Naheed Nenshi told reporters on Tuesday that he is happy to hear about the signing of the executive order.
“I fundamentally believe that the decision to deny that pipeline was one of the biggest domestic policy errors of the previous administration. I am certainly very happy to see that executive order signed.”
He added that he is sure that TransCanada and others will work to meet Trump’s conditions on the line and that it is important for Canada’s energy sector to have projects like this approved.
“It’s important that oil from a place that has high labour, environment and human rights standards is the kind of oil that is meeting the energy needs of the world. So I am of course very pleased to see that.”
Nenshi says that when the Keystone and Trans Mountain pipeline successes are combined with what he hopes is the approval of Energy East, Alberta will finally have the solution the Canadian energy market is looking for.
Backlash from environmental activists is likely to be expected, but Nenshi said there has been a lot of work done to ensure pipelines are safe.
“We have heard the arguments. There has been rigorous environmental oversight, stewardship and regulation and there will continue to be in all of these projects. I am confident that the regulatory jobs do their job and do it well.”
The approval, Nenshi says, will also have great benefit for the City of Calgary as well.
“Certainly we have the highest unemployment rate of any major city in Canada. We continue to have that. We are seeing green shoots here but one of the best ways to approach that is continuing to build these projects. These projects create good, decent jobs here in Calgary as well as in the field and they are a great way of helping out economy recover.”
Wildrose leader Brian Jean also expressed his gratitude on Tuesday, calling it ‘great news’ for the province and the energy sector.
“It’s proof that our industry does not need to be punished with caps and carbon taxes to get access to tidewater,” he wrote in a release.
He said that his party has always advocated for the oil and gas regions and pipelines in every direction.
Jean also said that he hopes all members of the NDP government will celebrate the approval.
The Keystone pipeline was originally killed by former President Barack Obama in late 2015 who said it would not be possible for the U.S. to reach a global climate change deal with it in place.
Stock in TransCanada Corp., the company behind the Keystone project, is up sharply today, rallying $1.55 or 2.48 percent to $64.09 and setting a new 100-day high. Over the last five days, shares have gained 3.71 percent and outperformed the S&P TSX index over the last 52 weeks with a 36.68 percent increase in price.
The Army decided last year to explore alternate routes for the Dakota pipeline after the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters said the pipeline threatened drinking water and Native American cultural sites.
(With files from the Associated Press)