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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 Donald Trump signed an executive order advancing the pipeline’s approval. Trump and his administration contend the project would create more than 40,000 jobs and would wean America from its dependence on foreign oil.

Since the project crosses international borders, the State Department must give 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 because of 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.

Former President Barack 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 approval from Nebraska state officials, which could take up to six months.

Environmental groups, who have staunchly opposed construction since the pipeline’s inception in 2008, vow 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,”  Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters, said, writes The Hill.

SOURCE: CNNThe Hill

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