Canada is pushing back on President-elect Joe Biden’s reported intention to cancel the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which bridges the U.S. and Canada’s main oil-producing province, Alberta.
In an effort to save the project, Canada is threatening to seek damages over the pipeline, which has been in construction for the past half-decade.
As reported by Reuters, the cancellation of the project would threaten numerous Canadian jobs, and relations between the two countries. It would also pose a hurdle for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who will be attempting to rebuild relations with his U.S. counterparts at the start of the new Biden era.
Efforts to scrap the oil pipeline have drawn support from environmental activists and progressive politicians like Senator Bernie Sanders, who has been vocal in his disapproval of the project.
A source informed Reuters on Sunday that Biden intended to cancel the permit for the $8 billion project over concerns about climate change, efforts which threaten to dampen prospects for the Canadian energy sector. The report caused shares of Keystone XL owner TC Energy to plummet on Monday, and prompted Alberta Premier Jason Kenney to call upon Trudeau to contact the Biden administration and reverse the potential decision before he takes office on Wednesday.
“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.
According to Kenney, Alberta has retained legal counsel and believes there is a “very solid” legal basis to seek damages under international free trade agreements, should Biden cancel the project by executive order.
Alberta has spent roughly $1 billion ($768 million USD) in the last year alone on the project. Keystone XL is estimated to carry 830,000 barrels per day of oil sands crude from Alberta to the state of Nebraska, but has run into hurdles posed by environmentalists and Native American activists.
The project was supported by Republicans under President Donald Trump’s administration, but faces steep opposition from Democrats close to the environmental lobby.
“We don’t have a decision from the Biden administration at this point. We should continue to work,” said a source to Reuters. “It’s not over until a decision is public.”
Trudeau’s government has urged Biden to maintain the construction of the pipeline, and intends to continue pushing for its development after the President-elect takes office.