State Dept: Tillerson will recuse himself from Keystone decision

Darin HammondMar 11, 2017

The US secretary of state has stepped away from dealing with issues related to the controversial Keystone pipeline, because he used to run an oil company. Tillerson has not been involved in the process at the State Department and will "play no role in the deliberations or ultimate resolution" of the application, Toner said.

TransCanada has since reapplied for a presidential permit, putting the decision back in the State Department's hands and raising greens' concerns that Tillerson could fast-track the project.

TransCanada quickly refiled an application to build its pipeline. He was sworn in as Secretary on February 1, just over a week after President Donald Trump signed an executive order on January 24 to advance the Keystone pipeline's construction, along with that of the Dakota Access pipeline. According to a recent poll, Albertans, who stand to benefit directly from Keystone XL's construction, are strongly in favor of it, with 77 percent of respondents in the poll saying so.

The State Department declined to say what prompted Mr Tillerson's decision.

TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada's tar sands through the us and on to the Gulf of Mexico, had been the source of political and environmental handwringing for five years until former President Barack Obama rejected the project in 2015, citing climate change.

The statement was sent to Greenpeace in response to a call from the environmental organization for Tillerson to do just that-step aside from decisions around the project.

President Donald Trump signed executive orders on Tuesday to advance the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone Pipeline. CB...

"We must keep pushing this administration into the spotlight and demanding that ethics watchdogs hold these individuals accountable and make these decisions regarding rampant conflicts of interest transparent", she added.

But the secretary of state has said he would fully divest from the company by May to comply with federal ethics rules.

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