By: Jeff Brady – NPR – As part of his ambitious plan to address climate change, President Biden is revoking a key cross-border presidential permit needed to finish the controversial Keystone XL pipeline
This likely means the end of the $8 billion pipeline, a years-long project that would have carried oil sands crude from Alberta, Canada, to the American Gulf Coast. The pipeline has come to signify the debate over whether fossil fuels should be left in the ground in order to rein in greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the worst damage from climate change.
President Barack Obama rejected the project in 2015. President Donald Trump revived it as one of his first actions in office.
Construction on Keystone XL began last year, and the company says about 300 miles of the pipeline has been built so far. TC Energy says in a statement that “advancement of the project will be suspended” and that the company likely will take a hit to its first-quarter earnings.
While the company’s announcement was straightforward, oil industry groups that supported the project decried the Biden decision.
“Killing 10,000 jobs and taking $2.2 billion in payroll out of workers’ pockets is not what Americans need or want right now,” said Andy Black, president, and CEO of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines.
Those jobs were temporary construction jobs and included workers from an Oklahoma union being sued by its Black members for discrimination.
Environmentalists opposed the pipeline because of the oil sands crude it would have carried. Producing that oil requires extra processing that emits more of the greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change. Those groups praised Biden’s decision along with his vow to rejoin the Paris climate agreement after Trump withdrew.
“It makes the United States once more part of the global climate solution — not the problem,” responded Mitchell Bernard, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the pipeline was a key priority for him. The province of Alberta, which is an investor in the project, has said it will work with the company to pursue legal remedies.