WASHINGTON — The Trump administration will approve the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, senior U.S. officials said, after the State Department delivers a positive recommendation to start construction on a long-delayed project that has served as a flashpoint in the debate about climate change.
Two senior officials said Tom Shannon, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, would make a recommendation on Friday that the pipeline serves U.S. national interests. Then, the White House would formally announce final approval, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to comment publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.
The 1,700-mile pipeline, as envisioned, would carry oil from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to Houston-area refineries, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. Environmental groups objected to the pipeline’s route and argued it would encourage the use of dirty sources of energy that contribute to global warming.
And President Barack Obama rejected the pipeline in 2015 after a negative recommendation from then-Secretary of State John Kerry.
The Trump administration had given officials until next Monday to complete a review of the pipeline. The recommendation has represented the last significant hold-up as President Donald Trump has been a vocal supporter of Keystone, saying it will create American jobs.