Keystone pipeline cancelled after Biden blocks permit

Construction on pipeline began last year when former president Donald Trump revived the long-delayed project

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 03, 2014, environmental activists inflate a long balloon to mock the Keystone pipeline project during a demonstration in front of the White House in Washington, DC. Canada’s TC Energy and the provincial government of Alberta announced on June 9, 2021, they have terminated the Keystone XL Pipeline Project , bringing an end to a decade-long controversy over an effort to pipe more Canadian crude into the US / AFP / JEWEL SAMAD
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The sponsor of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline said on Wednesday it is pulling the plug on the contentious project after Canadian officials failed to persuade President Joe Biden to reverse his cancellation of its permit on the day he took office.

Calgary-based TC Energy said it would work with government agencies “to ensure a safe termination of and exit from” the partially built line, which was to transport crude from the oil sand fields of western Canada to Steele City, Nebraska.

Construction on the 1,930-kilometre pipeline began last year when former president Donald Trump revived the long-delayed project after it had stalled under the Obama administration.

It would have moved up to 830,000 barrels of crude daily, connecting in Nebraska to other pipelines that feed oil refineries on the US Gulf Coast.

Mr Biden cancelled it in January over long-standing concerns that burning oil sands crude would worsen climate change.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau objected, but officials in Alberta, where the line originated, expressed disappointment in recent weeks that he did not lobby harder to reinstate the pipeline’s permit.

Alberta invested more than $1 billion in the project last year, kick-starting construction that had stalled amid determined opposition to the line from environmentalists and Native American tribes along its route.

Alberta officials said Wednesday they had reached an agreement with TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada, to exit their partnership.

The company and province plan to try to recoup the government’s investment, although neither offered any immediate details on how that would happen.

“We remain disappointed and frustrated with the circumstances surrounding the Keystone XL project, including the cancellation of the presidential permit for the pipeline’s border crossing,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in a statement.

Environmentalists who had fought the project since it was first announced in 2008 described its cancellation as a “landmark moment” in the effort to curb the use of fossil fuels that contribute to climate change.

“Good riddance to Keystone XL,” said Jared Margolis with the Centre for Biological Diversity, one of many environmental groups that sued to stop it.

Attorneys general from 21 states had sued to overturn Mr Biden’s cancellation of the contentious pipeline, which would have created thousands of construction jobs.

Republicans in Congress have made the cancellation a frequent talking point in their criticism of the administration and even some moderate Senate Democrats, including Montana’s Jon Tester and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, had urged Mr Biden to reconsider.