Biden to cancel Keystone XL pipeline permit on Day 1 in office

On Biden’s first day in the presidential office, it is being reported that he will sign multiple executive orders including one that would revoke the construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The permit was initially granted by President Donald Trump.

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If an executive order is signed to revoke the permit for the development of the oil pipeline system in Canada and the United States, it is unclear what would become of the project.

As of May 25, 2020, the pipeline crossing on the U.S.-Canadian border was completed. The project is set to create over 8,000 union jobs in 2021. 

This action by the incoming president would have significant implications for the Government of Alberta as part-owner of the Keystone XL project, which has already suffered hardships from dropping oil prices and the COVID-19 crisis. 

In a press release, Keystone XL has committed to becoming the first pipeline “to be fully powered by renewable energy”. 

“The company will achieve net zero emissions across the project operations when it is placed into service in 2023 and has committed the operations will be fully powered by renewable energy sources no later than 2030.”

The company announced that it will invest $1.7 billion into renewable energy such as solar and wind to power pump stations along the line. 

In response to the reports that Biden will be effectively canceling the project on his first day in office, multiple politicians in Canada made statements. 

Jason Kenney the Premier of Alberta wrote a statement echoing concern over Biden’s plans to revoke the project. 

Premier Kenney wrote,

“Doing so would kill jobs on both sides of the border, weaken the critically important Canada-US relationship, and undermine US national security by making the United States more dependent on OPEC oil imports in the future.”

Adding that oil-producing countries like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia do not share the same commitment as Canada and the United States “to environmental stewardship, combating climate change, or North American energy security”.

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Conservative Shadow Minister for Finance Pierre Poilievre called out Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for Canada’s dependency on the U.S. by blocking domestic pipeline projects. 

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe also condemned the move by the incoming US administration. 

In the United States, progressive politicians such as Bernie Sanders responded more favorably to the Keystone XL news.

Sanders wrote, “The Keystone pipeline is & always has been a disaster. I’m delighted that Joe Biden will cancel the Keystone permit on his first day in office.”

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