Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recused himself from any discussions and decisions involving the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, the State Department confirmed Thursday.
As NBC News reported, the department said Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, made the move in early February. However, the department did not give a reason why Tillerson recused himself.
The announcement comes after environmental advocacy group Greenpeace sent a letter to the Office of Government Ethics this week demanding Tillerson's recusal, saying his former employer "would directly and predictably benefit from the approval of TransCanada's President Permit."
President Donald Trump in January ordered the secretary of state to make a decicion regarding TransCanada's request to move forward with the construction of the estimated $8 billion pipeline to transport crude oil from Alberta to the U.S.