Biden set to cripple Trump mega pipeline project

Photo: AP Construction of Keystone XL is under way in Canada.

US president-elect Joe Biden vowed to revoke the permit for Keystone XL pipeline multi-billion project, AP reported. The project was one of the pearls in the crown of the outgoing president Donald Trump.

Biden is planning to cancel the permit and thus ax the $9 billion project as one of his first acts in office, and perhaps as soon as his first day. President Donald Trump had made building the pipeline a central promise of his presidential campaign. Canadian politicians and top officials insist Biden to reconsider his decision.  Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he will seek legal damages if reports are true that Biden plans to scrap the pipeline. “We hope President-elect Biden will show respect for Canada and will sit down and at the very least talk to us,” Kenney said quoted by AP.

The 2,735-kilometre pipeline would carry roughly 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.

First proposed in 2008, the pipeline has become emblematic of the tensions between economic development and curbing the fossil fuel emissions that are causing climate change. The Barak Obama administration rejected it, but President Donald Trump revived it and has been a strong supporter. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised Keystone XL as a top priority when he spoke with President-elect Biden. The project is meant to expand critical oil exports for Canada, which has the third-largest oil reserves in the world.

After reports surfaced that it would be canceled on the first day of Biden’s term, Calgary, Alberta-based TC Energy Corp. announced it would spent 1,7 billion on a solar, wind and battery-powered operating system for the pipeline to ensure it is zero-emission by 2030.

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.

Trump issued a presidential permit in 2017 that allowed the line to move forward, and several environmental groups sued the U.S. government.

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