State Department: Tillerson recuses himself from issues related to Keystone Pipeline

State Department: Tillerson recuses himself from issues related to Keystone Pipeline

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has recused himself from TransCanada Corp.'s pending application for a Keystone XL pipeline permit.

Rex Tillerson, former boss of Exxon Mobil, recused himself from the matter in February, the State Department said.

The State Department said Tuesday that Tillerson would "play no role in the deliberations or ultimate resolution" of the application from TransCanada, the company seeking to build the global energy pipeline.

TransCanada resubmitted its application for the Keystone project in January, after Donald Trump signed an order smoothing its path.

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TransCanada, a Canada based Energy Company, submitted an application last month to move ahead with the pipeline to bring crude oil from Alberta's tar sands to USA refineries. It could carry 830,000 barrels of oil each day.

"Secretary Tillerson's recent employer, ExxonMobil, is heavily invested in producing crude oil from Canada's tar sands and would directly and predictably benefit from the approval of TransCanada's Presidential Permit", Greenpeace said in a letter to the US Office of Government Ethics on Wednesday, urging them to call for TIllerson's recusal.

"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", it continued.

It remains unclear whether Mr Tillerson still owns stock in ExxonMobil.

But the secretary of state has said he would fully divest from the company by May to comply with federal ethics rules.