White House: Keystone exempt from 'Buy American' requirements
The Keystone XL Pipeline will not be subject to President Donald Trump's executive order requiring infrastructure projects to be built with American steel, a White House spokeswoman said today. Trump signed the order calling for the Commerce Department to develop a plan for U.S. steel to be used in “all new pipelines, as well as retrofitted, repaired or expanded pipelines” inside the U.S. projects “to the maximum extent possible.” By the White House’s judgment, that description would not include Keystone XL, which developer TransCanada first proposed in 2008. “The Keystone XL Pipeline is currently in the process of being constructed, so it does not count as a new, retrofitted, repaired or expanded pipeline,” the White House spokeswoman said. That interpretation removes one potential hurdle for Keystone, and it clarifies shifting rhetoric from Trump on the order. “We put you heavy into the pipeline business because we approved, as you know, the Keystone Pipeline, but they have to buy ... steel made in this country and pipelines made in this country,” Trump told U.S. Steel Chief Executive Mario Longhi at a Feb. 23 meeting. However, in his address to Congress earlier this week, Trump spoke of the order in the same sentence as Keystone but carefully described it as directing "that new American pipelines be made with American steel." Removing the steel condition could help persuade TransCanada to fully drop the $15 billion NAFTA complaint against the U.S., which it suspended earlier this week. A TransCanada spokesman declined today to comment on the NAFTA lawsuit.