On Friday, the State Department reversed the Obama administration’s decision to halt the advancement of the Keystone XL pipeline by granting a permit allowing construction to move forward, CNN reports.
The issued permit affords TransCanda the opportunity to break ground on the 875-mile long pipeline spanning from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska.
In January President Trump signed an executive order advancing the pipeline’s approval. Trump and his administration contend the project creates over 40,000 jobs and would wean America’s dependence on foreign oil.
Due to the project crossing international borders, the State Department was tasked with giving clearance.
Tom Shannon, the State Department’s undersecretary for political affairs issued TransCanda’s permit. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recused himself from the project due to his previous position as head of Exxon Mobil Corp., the largest oil company in the United States.
“In making his determination that issuance of this permit would serve the national interest, the under secretary considered a range of factors, including but not limited to foreign policy; energy security; environmental, cultural, and economic impacts; and compliance with applicable law and policy,” the State Department said in a statement according to The Hill.
Obama blocked construction in November 2015, arguing the project was in direct opposition to advancing future interests in climate change.
According to The Hill, the project has a series of hurdles to cross including the approval from the Nebraska state officials which could take up to six months.
Environmentalist groups who have staunchly opposed construction since the pipeline’s inception in 2008 have vowed to carry the opposite torch.
“This pipeline is all risk and no reward, and we will continue to fight it every step of the way,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters.