Construction authorized across a swath of federal land in Montana

TC Energy Corp.’s long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline took another step forward with U.S. approval of a key stretch of construction.
The Interior Department authorized construction across a swath of federal land in Montana, according to a release on Wednesday.
While approval by the oil-friendly Trump administration was expected, the move is a sign of growing momentum for a project that ground to a halt under federal opposition in 2015.
Progress on Keystone XL, which will boost shipments of crude from Alberta’s oilsands to Gulf Coast refineries, is a welcome sign for a Canadian energy industry that has been hamstrung by a too little pipeline capacity. The pipeline pinch has weighed on local crude prices and stunted explorers’ expansion plans.
But the US$8 billion pipeline isn’t in the clear just yet. It’s still the subject of a legal challenge in Montana, and additional federal permits are still necessary.
Calgary-based TC was little changed at $71.26 at 3:11 p.m. in Toronto. The shares are up 29 per cent in the past 12 months, compared with a 6.8 per cent gain for the S&P/TSX energy index.