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Today's News: Jan. 26, 2017

TransCanada files new permit for Keystone XL pipeline, Mexican president cancels Washington trip, and more from the United States and around the world.

Andrew Cullen / Reuters

—TransCanada has filed an application to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, a 1,200-mile-long oil pipeline that would connect the tar sands of Alberta to oil refineries in Nebraska. More here

—Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced on Twitter he’s canceled his visit next week to the U.S. to meet with President Trump over the American leader’s insistence Mexico will pay for a wall the U.S. wants to build on its southern border to keep away illegal immigrants. More here

—We’re tracking the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).

   

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TransCanada Files a New Application to Build the Keystone XL Pipeline

Pipes that would have become the Keystone XL sit in Gascoyne, North Dakota. (Terray Sylvester / Reuters)

TransCanada has filed an application to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, a 1,200-mile-long oil pipeline that would connect the tar sands of Alberta to oil refineries in Nebraska, according to Reuters. President Trump invited the Canadian energy company to re-submit the pipeline for approval in an executive order on Tuesday. The application now formally sets the Keystone XL pipeline back in motion, bringing the infrastructure project closer to reality. According to the same executive order, the U.S. State Department now has 60 days to approve or reject the company’s application, and it may not prepare a new environmental-impact statement for the pipeline.

The construction of the pipeline would represent a significant hit to former President Obama’s environmental legacy. In November 2015, Obama denied TransCanada’s first application to build the Keystone XL pipeline after it became a rallying symbol of the climate movement. Bill McKibben, a journalist and activist, said that the construction of Keystone XL would be “game over” for the planet, as it would allow the extraction and combustion of the especially dirty oil present in the Tar Sands. As I wrote on Wednesday, many U.S. environmental activists trace the origins of the country’s grassroots climate movement back to the mass protests opposing Keystone XL.

When he signed the executive order, Trump said the construction of Keystone XL would create 28,000 jobs. In fact, most studies indicate the pipeline would create only about 3,900 temporary construction jobs, though perhaps 7,000 more might be funded through local follow-on effects. But after construction is complete, the Keystone XL won’t create much long-term employment: Estimates say it will only lead to 35 new permanent employees.

With no Keystone XL pipeline, many oil extractors have resorted to shipping oil across the continent on trucks or trains. On top of this, others have stopped exploring for oil in the tar sands, as crude prices are now too low to justify drilling. On Wednesday, Russ Girling, the CEO of TransCanada, said that he wasn’t sure if shippers would use the pipeline if his company built it. Now we find out.

Chile Battles Its Worst Wildfires in Modern History

Pablo Sanhueza / Reuters

This post was updated on January 27 at 5:38 p.m ET.

The death toll has risen to at least 10 Friday in the wildfires that have spread throughout central Chile. Mario Fernandez, Chile’s interior minister, said Thursday the victims include two police officers were found in the Maule River, as well as four firefighters. Though wildfires are not uncommon in Chile, historically high temperatures and a nearly decade-long drought contributed to conditions that sparked blazes the likes of which Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said “we have never seen… never in Chile’s history.” Since Chile declared a state of emergency last week, the country has recorded more than 100 separate fires, which have burned nearly 500,000 acres—an area more than twice the size of New York City. Other countries, including the U.S., Russia, France, Peru, and Mexico, have contributed to the relief effort. As of Friday, Chile’s Conaf forestry service estimates that 72 fires have yet to be controlled.

You can see more photos from the fires here.

Mexican President Peña Nieto Cancels Meeting with Trump

Dario Lopez-Mills / AP

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced on Twitter he’s canceled his visit next week to the U.S. to meet with President Trump over the American leader’s insistence Mexico will pay for a wall the U.S. wants to build on its southern border to keep away illegal immigrants. Trump on Wednesday issued an executive order affirming his intention to build the wall—in line with a longstanding campaign promise. Mexico has consistently said it will not pay for such a structure.

Last Bodies Recovered From Italian Hotel, Rescuers Say

Reuters

The remaining bodies of the victims killed in last week’s deadly avalanche have been recovered from the wreckage, Italian authorities said Thursday, bringing the final death toll to 29. You can read more about the avalanche and the recovery process here.

Greece's Supreme Court Rules Against Extraditing Coup-Linked Turkish Soldiers

The eight Turkish soldiers are escorted by police officers to the Supreme Court in Athens on January 26. (Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters)

Greece's Supreme Court has ruled against extraditing to Turkey eight Turkish soldiers linked to last July’s coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The countries have had traditionally tense relations, but are both members of NATO and, as such, are allies. Turkey wants the soldiers, who fled to Greece by helicopter, returned so they can stand trial. Erdogan has cracked down on the military, the media, and government, and civil society after the coup attempt. Thousands of people have been arrested and tens of thousands have lost their jobs. The Greek Supreme Court’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.