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Keystone pipeline wins approval from Trump administration

March 24, 2017 GMT

The Trump administration issued a permit Friday to build the Keystone XL pipeline, reversing the conclusion of the Obama administration and clearing the way for the $8 billion project to finally be completed.

The decision caps a years-long fight between environmental groups and energy industry advocates over the pipeline’s fate that became a proxy battle over global warming. It marks one of the biggest steps taken to date by the Trump administration to prioritize economic development over environmental concerns.

The State Department, responsible for reviewing the project because it crosses an international border, determined that building it serves U.S. national interests. That conclusion followed a review of environmental, economic and diplomatic factors, the department said.

It wasn’t immediately clear what, if anything, had changed since the State Department reached the opposite conclusion two years ago. President Donald Trump planned to address Keystone during an announcement on Friday morning, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Twitter.

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TransCanada, the Calgary-based company that first applied for a presidential permit in 2008, called the decision a “significant milestone.”

“We greatly appreciate President Trump’s administration for reviewing and approving this important initiative,” said TransCanada CEO Russ Girling. “We look forward to working with them as we continue to invest in and strengthen North America’s energy infrastructure.”