Published: Sat, March 11, 2017
U.S. | By Vera Richards

State Dept: Tillerson has recused himself from Keystone decision

State Dept: Tillerson has recused himself from Keystone decision

"As promised, I directed the Department of Defense to develop a plan to demolish and destroy ISIS - a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, women, and children of all faiths and beliefs", Mr. Trump said February 28. In one of his first decisions as president, Donald Trump invited the Keystone builder, TransCanada, to resubmit its application to construct and operate the pipeline. It read, in part, "He has not worked on that matter at the Department of State, and will play no role in the deliberations or ultimate resolution of TransCanada's application".

The file technically belongs to his office - the State Department decides whether to grant permits for pipelines that enter the US from overseas. 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.

Energy company TransCanada requested a permit last month to move forward with construction of the estimated $8 billion, 1,179-mile pipeline to transport crude oil from heavy tar sands in Alberta to refineries in the U.S.

Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA, wrote to the State Department on Wednesday, urging Tillerson to step away from any decisions regarding Keystone because his former employer, Exxon Mobil, "would directly and predictably benefit from the approval" of the project.

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If you asked the Detroit Pistons on Thursday evening, though, they would probably disagree. In addition, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is being treated for a sinus and inner ear issue.

"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.

"Secretary Tillerson has been crystal clear that defeating ISIS is the State Department's top priority in the Middle East", acting spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on a conference call.

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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