President Donald Trump on Thursday said the companies behind two hotly contested oil pipelines must use U.S. steel in their projects.
Trump ordered the Department of Commerce last month to develop a plan that would require any company that builds a pipeline within U.S. borders to use American-made materials and equipment. But he has previously stopped short of language suggesting a requirement in public statements, instead saying he would like the projects to be built with U.S. raw steel and pipes.
The Commerce Department has not yet issued a report on the requirement, but Trump on Thursday said the companies behind the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines would "have to buy" pipes made from U.S. steel.
"And you're going to be doing pipelines now, you know that, right?" Trump told United States Steel CEO Mario Longhi during a meeting of business leaders at the White House.
"We put you heavy into the pipeline business because we approved, as you know, the Keystone pipeline and Dakota, but they have to buy, meaning steel, so I'll say U.S. steel, but steel made in this country and pipelines made in this country."
Trump signed memos to move the projects forward after President Barack Obama blocked their progress amid protests by environmentalists and Native Americans.
The requirement to use U.S. steel would create challenges for TransCanada because much of the pipe for its Keystone XL project has already been manufactured.