Greenpeace argued that ExxonMobil, where secretary of state was CEO, would directly and predictably is beneficial for approval of multibillion-dollar pipeline
The US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has recused himself from issues related to TransCanada Corps application for work permits for the Keystone XL pipeline, the state department said in a letter on Thursday to the environmental group Greenpeace.
He has not worked on that matter at the Department of State, and will play no role in the deliberations or ultimate resolution of TransCanadas application, said the letter from Katherine McManus, the state departments deputy legal adviser.
McManuss letter came after Greenpeace wrote to officials at the state department and the Office of Government Ethics on Wednesday, advising Tillerson to recuse himself from any decisions on the multibillion-dollar pipeline, given his former role as chief executive officer of ExxonMobil.
Greenpeace argued in its letter that ExxonMobil would directly and predictably is beneficial for the approval of Keystone XL because the firm has investments in Canadian petroleum sands.
Tillerson recused himself from the matter in early February, McManus wrote.
TransCanada tried for more than five years to construct the 1,179 mile( 1,897 km) pipeline, until Barack Obama rejected it in 2015.
TransCanada resubmitted its application for the Keystone project in January, after Donald Trump signed an order smoothing its path.
The line is designed to relate existing pipeline networks in Canada and the United States to bring petroleum from Alberta and North Dakota to refineries in Illinois en route to the Gulf of Mexico.
Exxon has a majority stake in Imperial Oil, a Calgary, Alberta-based corporation that operates the Kearl oil sand programme in north Alberta.
ExxonMobil could benefit from the approval of the pipeline whether the government has specific contracts or agreements with TransCanada either to transport their Canadian tar sand production, or to receive those shipments at their US refineries, Greenpeace wrote in its letter on Wednesday.
Tillerson wrote in a January letter to McManus that for one year after his resignation from ExxonMobil, he will not participate personally and substantially in any particular thing involving specific parties in which I know that ExxonMobil is a party or represents a party, unless I am first authorized to participate.
He likewise wrote that on a case-by-case basis, he would recuse himself from engaging in any particular thing involving specific parties in which I determine that a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts would question my impartiality in the matter, unless I am first authorized to participate.