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Mar 24, 2017

‘We’re not done yet’: TransCanada still faces hurdles after D.C. grants Keystone XL permit

TransCanada CEO Russell K. Girling speaks to President Donald Trump in the Oval Office

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CALGARY -- TransCanada received a presidential permit from the U.S. State Department that allows it to move forward on building the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline.

"This is a significant milestone for the Keystone XL project," TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said in a statement.

However, Keystone XL may face more hurdles.

TransCanada (TRP.TO) still does not have deals with all the landowners in Nebraska on the proposed route and it also lacks a permit in that state.

Protesters also promise they will try to stop the project, which will stretch from Alberta to refineries Texas.

“It would take you all day to take you through the torture of this saga,” said TransCanada Director Derek Burney in an interview with BNN, referring to the application process. “The board and management have gone through various moods, but we’ve also had to react strategically with other decisions on the assumption that the pipeline was not going to be a reality.”

“We’re not done yet,” he added. “We still have to get permits from Nebraska and South Dakota – that will take some time. But by being persistent, by sticking to our guns, we see some light at the end of the long, long pipeline tunnel.” 

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    The Calgary-based company said Friday it would continue to work with key stakeholders throughout Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota to obtain the necessary permits and approvals to advance this project to construction.

    And U.S. President Donald Trump indicated he’s prepared to give the company a helping hand.

    “The bottom line, Keystone – finished and can start construction,” the president said Friday in The White House, flanked by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Girling.

    “We have some work to do in Nebraska to get our permits there,” noted Girling. To which Trump fired back, “Nebraska? I’ll call Nebraska!” 

    However, because the pipeline project crosses the Canada-U.S. border, TransCanada also required approvals from the president and U.S. State Department.

    Former president Barack Obama rejected the previous Keystone proposal saying it wasn't in the U.S. national interest.

    But Donald Trump, while campaigning to be president of the United States, said he would reverse Obama's decision. Trump then signed an executive order in his first week in office that invited TransCanada Corp. to reapply for a permit and promised a decision within 60 days. The 60-day timeline in Trump's executive order expires Monday.

    Trump officially approves TransCanada’s Keystone XL permit

    Speaking from the White House, Trump offers his praise to TransCanada CEO Russell Girling, saying he’s a “very respected man in the energy world.” Standing by Trump’s side, Girling addresses the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and the impact on the economy.

    “This is just extra icing on the cake,” said John Stephenson, president and CEO of Stephenson & Company, in an interview with BNN. “This is a major step forward for the company.”

    Awarding cross-border pipeline permits is technically the domain of the Secretary of State.

    However, in this case, The Associated Press reported Thursday that the decision would come from Undersecretary of State Tom Shannon because his boss, former oil executive Rex Tillerson, has recused himself from the decision.

    "We greatly appreciate President Trump's administration for reviewing and approving this important initiative and we look forward to working with them as we continue to invest in and strengthen North America's energy infrastructure," Girling said in Friday's announcement.

    - with files from BNN

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