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U.S. State Department To Approve Final Keystone XL Permit Friday

The United States Department of State is set to approve on Friday the last permit necessary for TransCanada to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, according to sources who spoke to Reuters on Thursday.

The pipeline’s road to becoming operational may still be lengthy, as states reserve the right to challenge the line’s construction. Nebraska, for example, has shown serious reservations about the project in the past.

Former President Barack Obama blocked the project in 2015 after outcry from scores of environmental protestors. The same Earth groups still oppose the pipeline.

"We will resist these projects with our allies across the country and across borders, and we will continue to build the future the world wants to see," Diana Best, a Greenpeace climate campaign specialist told Reuters this week.

White House representative Sean Spicer said that the White House would offer an update on the pipeline’s status on Friday, but did not add any new details.

President Donald Trump issued an executive order authorizing the construction of both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines during the first few days of his term. Under the order, the projects should begin construction within 60 days – a period which ends on Monday.

"Monday is the deadline, so that's what we're working towards," TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said.

Related: The Upcoming Surge In U.S. Oil Demand Explained In One Chart

It is anticipated that state department undersecretary for political affairs, Tom Shannon, will authorize a cross-border permit for TransCanada’s pipeline instead of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who recused himself from the matter due to his former career as the CEO of Exxon Mobil.

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TransCanada reapplied for a permit to build the pipeline with the Department of State in January. If constructed, the Keystone XL pipeline will transport a daily average of 800,000 barrels of heavy Canadian crude from Alberta to U.S refineries.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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