The Donald Trump administration has approved the construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline that will carry crude from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, the State Department said Friday.
Undersecretary for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon Jr. issued a presidential permit that authorizes project owner TransCanada "to construct, connect, operate, and maintain pipeline facilities at the U.S.-Canadian border," according to a statement from the department.
Shannon considered various factors, such as foreign policy, energy security, environmental, cultural, and economic impacts before he signed the permit, according to the statement.
Shannon signed the permit because Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recused himself from the project earlier this month. Tillerson previously served as head of ExxonMobil that is invested in producing crude from Canadian tar sands.
Trump said Friday that Keystone XL would be "the first of many infrastructure projects," and added "Today, we begin to make things right, and to do things right."
Shortly after taking office in January, Trump also signed an executive order to complete the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
The Keystone XL was rejected by former President Barack Obama in November 2015 after a seven-year review. Trump, however, signed an executive order Jan. 24 that allows TransCanada to reapply for the construction of the project.
TransCanada CEO Russ Girling thanked Trump in a statement Friday, because the permit is "a significant milestone for the Keystone XL project" and he said his company would "continue to invest in and strengthen North America's energy infrastructure."
The $8 billion, 1,900-kilometer (1,180-mile) pipeline will carry a daily average of 800,000 barrels of crude.
By Ovunc Kutlu in New York