Among all the shadowy connections speculated to exist between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart Donald Trump, it was perhaps inevitable that one would eventually be found to involve the Keystone XL pipeline. It didn’t take long.
U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Putin helped Trump into the Oval Office. And as EcoWatch notes, one of the first things Trump did when he got there was to sign an executive order inviting Keystone’s Canadian proponents to revive their application to build the line his predecessor had rejected. Two days later, TransCanada Corporation did just that.
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At the same time, however, Trump ordered that pipelines being built in the United States use U.S.-made steel to the “maximum extent possible.” The curious caveat may be significant.
Citing an original investigation by DeSmog Blog, EcoWatch writes that “much of the steel for Keystone XL has already been manufactured and is sitting in a field in rural North Dakota.” More relevant to Putin’s Keystone connection, 40% of that steel “was manufactured in Canada by a subsidiary of Evraz, a company partly owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who is a close ally of Putin and a Trump family friend.”
The loophole in Trump’s executive order may ensure that Abramovich’s steel eventually gets buried somewhere along the Keystone route to carry Canadian oil to U.S. and other buyers—presumably making both presidents happy. For other potential backers, Fortune recently concluded, the revived Keystone proposal looks like a “singularly poor investment.”
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