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Tuesday, Mar 2nd, 2021

Biden to sign executive order Wednesday cancelling Keystone XL pipeline

Joe Biden will cancel the Keystone XL pipeline within hours of taking office as U.S. president today.

Mr. Biden will revoke Keystone’s presidential permit as part of a slew of executive orders to be signed shortly after his swearing-in at noon ET.

The permit is one of several environmental actions by U.S. President Donald Trump that “do not serve the U.S. national interest,” Mr. Biden’s office said Wednesday morning, and which he will reverse.

The plan to cancel Keystone appeared to catch the Canadian government and industry off-guard when it was first revealed by the Canadian Press on Sunday night, putting a question mark over the Trudeau government’s supposedly friendly relationship with the incoming Biden administration.

The cancellation will also leave Alberta taxpayers on the hook for US$1-billion, after Premier Jason Kenney’s government stepped in to bail out the project, despite knowing it might soon be cancelled.

Mr. Biden promised in May to kill Keystone, calling it “tar sands we don’t need” in an interview with CNBC.

But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mr. Kenney and industry believed they could still change his mind.

Mr. Kenney vowed earlier this week to sue the U.S. government under the provisions of the North American free-trade agreement, which allows investors to go after governments for unfavourable policy decisions. This provision will be ended by the new USMCA in 2023.

Ending Keystone was made a litmus test of environmental commitment by U.S. climate activists. Former president Barack Obama opposed the pipeline in 2015, a position reversed by Mr. Trump during his first week in office.

In a news release, TC Energy, which owns Keystone, says it is “disappointed” with Mr. Biden’s expected action, adding it will overturn extensive regulatory reviews that found the pipeline would transport needed energy in an environmentally responsible way and bolster North American energy security.

It warned the move will lead to the layoffs of thousands of union workers and comes despite its commitments to use more renewable energy and draft partnerships with Indigenous communities.

TC Energy says it will stop capitalizing costs, including interest during construction, effective Wednesday, and will evaluate the carrying value of its investment in the pipeline, net of project recoveries.

Source: The Globe And Mail | This text was excerpted from the media outlet cited on January 20, 2021 and is provided to Noia members for information purposes only. Any opinion expressed therein is neither attributable to nor endorsed by Noia.