Biden Reportedly Plans To Nix Keystone XL Permit On Day One

President-elect Joe Biden will reportedly cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit on Inauguration Day in what is anticipated to be a series of changes he will make rebuking the Trump administration on his first day in office.

The New York Times, citing an unnamed “person familiar with Mr. Biden’s plans,” reports that Biden is expected to act “quickly reversing his predecessor’s approval of a project to move oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.”

The Keystone Pipeline System runs from Alberta, Canada, to oil refineries in Illinois, Texas, and to a distribution center in Oklahoma. The XL (“export limited”) phase of the development has been met with opposition from climate activists, progressive organizations, and Indigenous groups.  The New York Times reports, “had it been completed, the pipeline was designed to take as much as 830,000 barrels a day of Canadian and North Dakota crude to refineries in Texas and Louisiana for processing into oil that could be exported overseas or used to enhance domestic supplies.” The pipeline is owned by the Alberta-based TC Energy Corporation.

More details from The Times:

Environmentalists have long targeted the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline as both a contributor to climate change and a physical symbol of the country’s unwillingness to move away from an oil-based economy. Many Republicans, including President Trump, argued the pipeline would create jobs and help local economies.

In late 2015, former President Barack Obama rejected the permit for the project, arguing it would undermine American leadership on the transition to sustainable fuels. Mr. Trump’s administration reversed that decision in early 2017, giving a green light for construction of the project to begin.

Construction has hit other economic and legal roadblocks since then, but environmentalists were pleased when Mr. Biden said during the presidential campaign that he intended to once again cancel the permit.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who recently accused President Trump of inciting “violent rioters” who breached the U.S. Capitol, reportedly spoke to Biden about the pipeline in November during a congratulatory phone call. Reuters reports, “Trudeau’s government has previously urged the president-elect not to halt construction.”

On Monday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called on Trudeau to reach out to the Biden administration before it assumes power.

“This is the 11th hour and if this really is the top priority, as it should be, then we need the government of Canada to stand up for Canadian workers, for Canadian jobs, for the Canadian-U.S. relationship, right now,” Kenney said in a news conference.

“Our government is making sure that Canada’s views are heard and considered by the incoming administration at the highest levels,” Trudeau said on Tuesday. “We understand, of course, that it is a commitment that the candidate Joe Biden made to cancel this pipeline. At the same time, we continue to demonstrate the leadership Canada has shown in fighting climate change.”

Kenney threatened legal action if Biden scraps the transnational project. He warned, “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.”

In August, TC Energy had announced an agreement with four major American unions to establish a Green Jobs Training Program to create employment opportunities for organized labor developing Keystone XL.

After reports surfaced that Biden planned to stop the project, TC Energy pledged it would only hire union workers and spend $1.7 billion to make the pipeline zero-emission by 2030.

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