Will Keystone XL be built now that Donald Trump has approved the project?

Click to play video: 'President Trump green lights Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines'
President Trump green lights Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines
With the stroke of a pen, Donald Trump has given the green light to two contentious pipelines that have faced years of opposition. As Vassy Kapelos reports, there are plenty of Canadians, including our prime minister, that are celebrating the decision – Jan 24, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump’s move to advance Keystone XL and Dakota Access – two hotly debated pipelines – doesn’t guarantee shovels will be breaking ground soon.

The fact he’s given the pipelines the go-ahead, reversing decisions made by former president Barack Obama, isn’t so surprising; Republicans have long stood in favour of the pipeline proposals, arguing they offer a boost to job growth south of the border.

READ MORE: Donald Trump signs orders approving Keystone, Dakota pipelines

Despite the support from the American Congress and the president, there are still questions. And whatever comes of Trump’s pipeline revival, in Canada as least, will rely mostly on TransCanada Corp., the company behind Keystone.

WATCH: Anti-pipeline protests erupt across U.S. after Trump moves to continue construction

Click to play video: 'Anti-pipeline protests erupt across U.S. after Trump moves to continue construction'
Anti-pipeline protests erupt across U.S. after Trump moves to continue construction

‘Ball is in TransCanada’s court’

“All of the approvals are already in place north of the border,” Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said Tuesday. “So the ball is in the court of TransCanada for a re-application and a presidential decision.”

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Following Trump’s order, TransCanada announced it is preparing its application and intending to submit it.

WATCH: Keystone XL pipeline approved by President Donald Trump

Click to play video: 'Keystone XL pipeline approved by President Donald Trump'
Keystone XL pipeline approved by President Donald Trump

But Trump signalled he has conditions he wants met. For starters, he said he wants the materials used to construct the pipelines to come from the United States, though it wasn’t immediately clear how he intended to enforce the measure.

“From now on we are going to start making pipelines in the United States,” he said.

Secondly, the orders signed for Keystone and Dakota Access are subject to renegotiations of the agreements. What aspects of the agreements Trump and his administration are looking to renegotiate, wasn’t immediately clear either.

U.S. demands remains unclear

After reading Trump’s executive order on Keystone, Carr said the document didn’t detail any possible concessions, Reuters reported.

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Alberta Premier Rachel Notley applauded Trump’s move, but cautioned more information is needed about any amended terms his administration is seeking.
“There was some reference to ensuring [the pipeline] was built with American steel. What implications does that have for us?” she said, speaking to reporters. “We need to monitor that very closely and we will continue to do so on behalf of Alberta industry and Alberta interests.”

Notley said she is hopeful the negotiations won’t be an attempt to undercut Canadian interests, saying recent language from Trump and his advisers seems to highlight, in Notley’s words, the “positive, highly integrated and mutually beneficial” trade relationship between the two countries.

But again, she is cautiously optimistic.

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WATCH: Alberta government ‘welcomes news’ on Keystone

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Alberta government ‘welcomes news’ on Keystone

“As we see that understanding growing, we become slightly less concerned … Am I completely unconcerned? No,” she said.

The premier also said her presumption is most negotiations regarding Keystone will involve TransCanada, not the province.

Keystone’s history

The Obama administration stopped the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in late 2015, declaring it would have undercut U.S. efforts to clinch a global climate change deal that was a centerpiece of his environmental legacy.

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The pipeline would run from the Alberta oil sands to Nebraska, where it would connect to existing lines running to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast. The U.S. government needs to approve the pipeline because it would cross the nation’s northern border.

Environmental activists broadly opposed the Keystone XL pipeline and campaigned against it for more than seven years.

Carr described the tentative approval as “very positive” for Canada, saying it will add 4,500 construction jobs and “deepen” the relationship on the energy file between Canada and the U.S.

Approving the final leg of the Dakota Access pipeline, meanwhile, would mark a defeat for Native American tribes affected by the project. Protesters had rallied for months against plans to route the $3.8-billion pipeline beneath a lake near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, saying it threatened water resources and sacred Native American sites.

— With files from Reuters and The Associated Press

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