environmental conservation

Biden to cancel Keystone XL pipeline permit on first day in office

Reuters
Biden to cancel Keystone XL pipeline permit on first day in office

PIPES. A depot used to store pipes for Transcanada Corp's planned Keystone XL oil pipeline is seen in Gascoyne, North Dakota, January 25, 2017.

Photo by Terray Sylvester/Reuter

Construction, however, is well under way in Canada

US President-elect Joe Biden is planning to cancel the permit for the $9 billion Keystone XL pipeline project via executive action on his first day in office this week, CBC News reported on Sunday, January 17, citing sources.

A briefing note from the Biden transition team was widely circulated over the weekend after being shared by the team with US stakeholders, the Canadian broadcaster reported.

The words “Rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit” appeared on a list of executive actions likely scheduled for the first day of Biden’s presidency on Wednesday, according to the report. Biden, a Democrat had earlier vowed to scrap the oil pipeline’s presidential permit if he became president.

The Keystone pipeline is operated by TC Energy Corp . The company did not offer immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.

Biden’s transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. A spokesman for Canadian Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan referred queries to the office of Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to Washington. Hillman’s office was not immediately available for comment.

The project, which would move oil from the province of Alberta to Nebraska, had been slowed by legal issues in the United States.

It also faced opposition from environmentalists seeking to check the expansion of Canada’s oil sands by opposing new pipelines to move its crude to refineries.

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said on Twitter he was “deeply concerned” by the report, adding that canceling the presidential permit for the pipeline would kill jobs “on both sides of the border,” weaken US-Canada relations and undermine American national security by making the United States more dependent on OPEC oil imports.

Should Biden’s administration abrogate the Keystone XL pipeline permit, Alberta will work with TC to pursue all legal avenues available, Kenney said on Twitter.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that TC planned to announce a series of overhauls, including a pledge to use only renewable energy, in a bid to win Biden’s support for the project.

A company spokesman cited by the Journal said Keystone would announce the measures this week.

Construction is well under way in Canada, with the international border crossing complete. In the United States, TC has started construction on pump stations in each of the states the line will pass through, but legal setbacks cost it much of the 2020 construction season.

Former Democratic President Barack Obama axed the project in 2015, saying Canada would reap most of the economic benefits, while the project would add to greenhouse gas emissions.

Outgoing Republican President Donald Trump issued a presidential permit in 2017 that allowed the line to move forward, and several environmental groups sued the US government. – Rappler.com

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