But, although Trump portrayed the pipeline as a done deal now, its future remains uncertain.
The pipeline will carry 830,000 barrels of oil a day form the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico, where the existing Keystone pipeline resides. The rejection came just before President Obama signed an worldwide agreement on global warming in Paris.
"The fact that the current administration values climate impacts differently than President Obama did does not in and of itself doom the project, but we are in some interesting legal territory".
Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, (who earned part of his fortune through investments in Russian energy), criticized Trump both for approving the pipeline and for promising that it would be built with American steel.
"Monday is the deadline for a decision from the State Department", TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said in an email.
"I hope you don't pay your consultants anything because they had nothing to do with the approval". The White House is looking for ways to speed up approvals and permits for other infrastructure projects, which can sometimes take years to go through a regulatory maze. Its developers had not envisioned prices would drop and remain so low, for so long. Interestingly, it could also allow- for the first time- Canadian oil shipments access to global markets previously unreachable. Trump now occupies the White House, but that pressure has hardly gone away.
The move fits in line with signals that the Trump administration views climate leadership and economics as diametrically opposed.
"Any politician siding with the fossil fuel industry on Keystone, be they named Trudeau or Trump, is in for one hell of a fight".
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"When does construction start?" It will need to secure several state-level permits, including in Nebraska where opposition to the project has been most acute.
"I think Trump's decision hurts the Trudeau government", Matthew Hoffmann, co-director of the Munk School's Environmental Governance Lab in Toronto told AFP.
Some Native Americans have also banded together to protest the pipeline running through tribal lands and said they're concerned that it is in close proximity to the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides fresh groundwater to Great Plains states. In March of 2010 the National Energy Board approved the Canadian portion of the project, and the U.S. State Department, after initially delaying a decision, eventually recommended the pipeline be approved. It re-applied with the Nebraska Public Service Commission this year. It will soon be taking testimony from dozens of stakeholders determined to stop construction.
Supporters of the pipeline say that the construction project will bolster job development in the United States.
Soon after the State Department granted TransCanada a permit to build a pipeline across the U.S. The department concluded that building Keystone is in the national interest, reversing the view of the Obama administration. Secretary of State and former Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Rex Tillerson recused himself from the process.
"This project is going to be fought at every turn", said Bill McKibben, an author and environmentalist who participated in a media call Friday with other pipeline opponents.
Trump in a January 24 directive gave the State Department 60 days to review TransCanada's application to build the XL portion of the oil transportation system.