Biden may cancel Keystone XL pipeline permit on first day on office

Biden may cancel Keystone XL pipeline permit on first day on office
THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Nati Harnik
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President-elect Joe Biden is reportedly planning to effectively end the Keystone XL pipeline between Canada and the United States in an executive order that he plans to sign on his first day in office. 

According to multiple news outlets including CBC News and Politico, Biden’s plans were included in a briefing note from his transition team that was circulated over the weekend to industry groups and lobbyists. The decision remains tentative, and has not been confirmed by an official source. According to Politico, incoming White House chief of staff Ron Klain did not include the tentative order in his weekend memo discussing proposed executive orders.

During his campaign, Biden promised to tackle climate change as part of his energy policies. He has pledged to rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate, and reverse many of President Trump’s regulatory rollbacks which helped the fossil fuel industry. 

Biden’s campaign has previously suggested that the President-elect intends to rescind plans for the Keystone XL Pipeline, if elected. The crude oil pipeline project, which is operated by TC Energy, was first rejected by the Obama administration and only later approved by Trump.

According to CBC News, Biden may face pushback from Canadian leaders if he rescinds the cross-border pipeline permit, which allows for crude oil to be transported from Canada into the United States.

Canadian Ambassador to the United States Kirsten Hillman did not confirm reports of the planned cancellation, but said that the Canadian government fully supports the Keystone XL project. 

“The Government of Canada continues to support the Keystone XL project,” Hillman said. “Keystone XL fits within Canada’s climate plan. It will also contribute to U.S. energy security and economic competitiveness.”

In 2020, the province of Alberta invested $1.5 billion into the Keystone XL pipeline for the Canadian side of the construction, which has seen more construction in recent months, according to CBC News. Premier Jason Kenney expressed deep concern for reports that Biden intended to end the agreement.

“I am deeply concerned by reports that the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden may repeal the Presidential permit for the Keystone XL border crossing next week,” Kenney wrote. 

Speaking to CBC News, former TC Energy executive Dennis McConaghy said that reports of the potential executive order did not surprise him, due to the pressure on the incoming Biden administration to enact green policy reforms. 

“Ideally the project should have been completed and put into operation during the Trump administration,” McConaghy said in an interview with CBC News. “It’s a very audacious thing that is being done here by the Biden administration.”

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