By: Levon Sevunts
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to rescind the permit for the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline on his first day in office, CBC News reports.
CBC News obtained over the weekend a purported note from the Biden transition team mentioning the plan to cancel the controversial project on a list of executive actions supposedly scheduled for Day 1 of his presidency.
The list of executive actions also includes a raft of environmental policies to be enacted as soon as Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday, including re-joining the Paris climate accord.
The 1,947-kilometres-long pipeline was projected to deliver about 830,000 barrels per day of Western Canadian crude oil from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska. However, the $8 billion US project has been delayed for more than a decade by opposition from landowners, environmental groups and Indigenous groups.
The project was also rejected by former U.S. President Barack Obama. Biden had indicated back in May that he plans to cancel the project if elected.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised the issue of the Keystone XL pipeline with Biden during a phone call to congratulate him on his election on Nov. 9. Trudeau and Biden discussed the future of bilateral relations, including thorny issues such as the softwood lumber dispute and the protectionist Buy American procurement policies, according to a readout of their phone call released by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Erin O’Toole, Leader of Canada’s Conservatives and the Official Opposition, on Sunday urged Trudeau “to immediately reach out to the incoming U.S. administration to stop this from happening and stand up for working Canadians across Canada.”
“If true, this move will devastate thousands of Canadian families who have already been badly hurt by the economic crisis,” O’Toole said in a statement. “We need a recovery for all Canadians, in every part of Canada, in every sector – including energy. Keystone XL is a project of national significance that supports countless workers on both sides of the border.”
New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh applauded Biden’s expected executive action saying it contrasts with Trudeau’s continued support for some natural resources projects.
“I agree with that decision. I do not support the project,” Singh told reporters. “This is the direction that the future requires, we’ve got to fight the climate crisis.”
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he was “extremely concerned” by the news. and urged Biden to “show respect for Canada” and .
“Doing so would kill jobs on both sides of the border, weaken the critically important Canada-U.S. relationship, and undermine U.S. national security by making the United States more dependent on OPEC oil imports in the future,” Kenney said in a statement.
In 2019, the U.S. imported 9.14 million barrels per day of petroleum, 3.7 million of which came from Canada, he said.
“The rest comes from countries like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, none of whom share the commitment of Canada and the United States to environmental stewardship, combatting climate change, or North American energy security,” Kenney added.
Alberta has already invested $1.5 billion ($1.1 billion US) to help TC Energy Corp. get the project off the ground. The Canadian leg of the project has been under construction for several months with around 1,000 workers in southeast Alberta.
“We hope president-elect Biden will show respect for Canada and will sit down and at the very least talk to us,” Kenney said.
“Should the incoming U.S. Administration abrogate the Keystone-XL permit, Alberta will work with TC Energy to use all legal avenues available to protect its interest in the project,” he added.
With files from CBC News
By: Levon Sevunts