U.S. grants TransCanada permit for portion of Keystone XL pipeline

The Obama administration has granted construction permits for the lower half of the Keystone XL pipeline through Texas, officials told The New York Times on Tuesday.

The Army Corps of Engineers told TransCanada on Monday that they could begin construction on a portion of the 1,700-mile pipeline from Canada to Nederland, Texas, the Times reported.

The Corp is still reviewing permits for other sections of the pipeline.

President Barack Obama denied TransCanada’s permit in January to start construction on the oil sands pipeline, citing insufficient time to meet a Congress-mandated deadline. He said TransCanada would be allowed to resubmit its application with an altered route.

TransCanada resubmitted its application in May.

During an appearance in March, Obama said his administration was taking action to speed up the approval process of the portion from Cushing, Okla. to refineries in the Gulf.

The pipeline has become a politically sticking point over the past few months. Environmentalists have argued the pipeline would bring unnecessary environmental and pollution dangers to the United States.

Republicans and union groups have said the pipeline could bring jobs to ailing economy and could also bring additional supply to the market.