46th President of United States, Joe Biden had to cancel the permit to build a Keystone XL pipeline. It marks the end of a saga spanning more than 12 years over the pipeline meant to carry Canadian crude oil to the United States. He made this decision just after his inauguration that met with disappointment to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. This project was particularly important for Canada’s oil sector which is a large part of the country’s economy.
Biden has always been against the Keystone project, he claimed that on the U.S media outlet CNBC last May.
“It is tar sands that we don’t need [and] that is a very, very high pollutant,” Biden said at the time.
Fighting climate change has been a key pillar of Biden’s campaign.
“For Canadians, we are talking about $100 billion in [annual] exports,” from the pipeline, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney told the Agence France-Presse news agency on Monday, responding to rumors Biden would kill the project. “So this is a matter that touches on Canada’s vital economic interests.”
Earlier, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a conversation through a phone call with U.S President Joe Biden to reconsider his decision about the keystone project. Many politicians have criticized the newly-elected President Joe Biden’s decision saying that the U.S can be more affluent to take oil from its neighbor than to depend upon countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been advocating this project to Washington to be able to help expand the country’s energy market. It was also very important for the province of Alberta as conservative premier Jason Kenny has invested 1.1 billion dollars in taxpayer money into the project in the hope that Biden would not revoke the permit, although Joe Biden has been very vocal about his stance on this project since he was vice-president under President Barack Obama.
According to the reports of Bloomberg calculations based on industry criteria, almost 150 kilometers of pipe had been placed and 2.2 kilometers had already been completed at the Canada- U.S border at the end of 2020. The amount was nearly 48,000 tons of steel. The XL pipeline was constructed to move both Canadian and American oil to refineries in Texas from where it can be exported.
A proposed fourth phase of the Keystone pipeline attracted opposition environmentalists over climate change and fossil fuels. In 2015 U.S President Barack Obama delayed the implementation of the fourth phase of the project and in 2017 President Donald Trump permitted the completion of the pipeline and has since been the subject of frequent public concern, particularly from environmental and Indigenous people.
The major environmental concern raised against the project is as follows:
- It will threaten Ogallala Aquifer
- Ogallala Aquifer provides drinking water to 2 million people
- It supports 20 billion USD of agricultural activities
- In 2016, more than 400 barrels were leaked, whereas 9600 barrels were leaked in 2017 and more than 9000 barrels were leaked in 2019
- Native American groups have opposed that project, claiming that the construction would affect their water supplies
- It would increase greenhouse emissions because of the carbon footprint of extracting Canadian oil.
The most prior decision to construct this pipeline is that it forms a direct connection to the international market through the Texas refineries and ports because the oil sands in Canada are landlocked, which will help them in further development.
Another key reason is that President Donald Trump has stated that 28,000 jobs would be provided for the pipeline construction, and if North America manages to increase its supply of oil then it can also reduce its dependence on imports from the Middle East.
The Keystone pipeline is & always has been a disaster. I'm delighted that Joe Biden will cancel the Keystone permit on his first day in office. With all of the major crises facing America, we must never lose sight of the most existential threat facing our planet: climate change. https://t.co/8lDZDOgsVy
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 18, 2021
“Biden intends to cancel Keystone XL pipeline”
This would be a great start and a crucial first step. https://t.co/zcuKYpKTvm
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) January 19, 2021
American politician Sen. Bernie Sanders and activist Greta Thunberg applauded the Biden team’s expected action on the Keystone XL pipeline.
However, the Canadian government continues to support the project. The premier of Alberta, Jason Kenny said that cancellation is concerning and that would be a serious economic and strategic error that would set back Canada-U.S relations.
The developer of the pipeline, TC Energy, claimed on January 17 that the pipeline would achieve net-zero emissions, once it’s in service in 2023. Biden’s reported decision to end the pipeline is just of many aggressive actions the new administration is expected to take on climate policy in its early days.
Canada’s ambassador to the U.S said that the U.S has no better plan than Canada regarding Climate action.
The analyst stated that in 2018, the federal government bought the pipeline project to the west coast of Canada. Last week exports from Canada to the U.S were close by 4m b/d, near a record high.