- The Washington Times - Monday, January 18, 2021

President-elect Joseph R. Biden has indicated that he plans to cancel a Keystone XL pipeline permit on his first day in office, according to the CBC, fueling alarm about losses of U.S. and Canadian jobs and billions in economic activity.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation cited a briefing memo from the Biden team of executive actions scheduled for Wednesday, the first day of Mr. Biden’s presidency, that included, “Rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Sunday that he was “deeply concerned” about the report, which CBC said was confirmed by unnamed sources, and warned that yanking the border-crossing permit on the $8 billion project would threaten U.S. and Canadian economic and national-security interests.

“Doing so would kill jobs on both sides of the border, weaken the critically important Canada-US relationship, and undermine US national security by making the United States more dependent on OPEC oil imports in the future,” Mr. Kenney said in a statement.

Certainly there were indications during the campaign that Mr. Biden planned to target the KXL pipeline permit, which was approved by President Trump in March 2017 after being rejected by the Obama administration.

“Biden strongly opposed the Keystone pipeline in the last administration, stood alongside President Obama and Secretary [John] Kerry to reject it in 2015, and will proudly stand in the Roosevelt Room again as President and stop it for good by rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline permit,” Stef Goldman, Biden campaign policy director, said in a May statement.

Rescinding the permit would block the latest phase of the pipeline, a 1,179-mile segment that starts in Alberta and runs through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska on its way to Patoka, Illinois. The existing pipeline delivers crude oil from Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

Mr. Biden’s goals include achieving net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 by supplanting fossil fuels with wind and solar power on the U.S. energy grid in the name of combating climate change.

The Biden transition team has not commented publicly so far on the report.

Among those applauding the move was Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer of the anti-pipeline Keep It In the Ground campaign, who tweeted that it was “amazing news.”

Craig Stevens, former senior adviser to George W. Bush administration Energy Secretary Sam Bodman, said that while “environmentalists will undoubtedly cheer, the rest of the country will soon regret this Day One decision.”

“This decision, if true, will cost thousands of U.S. construction jobs, billions in economic activity, weaken U.S./Canadian relations, and ultimately make the world more reliant on energy from parts of the work that would do freedom and democracy harm. It will also have a chilling effect on infrastructure investment across the U.S.,” said Mr. Stevens, spokesperson for the GAIN [Grown America’s Infrastructure Now] Coalition.

Mr. Kenney said that if the permit is rescinded, his government would work with TC Energy, the pipeline’s private owner, and would “use all legal avenues available to protect its interest in the project.”

Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Kirsten Hillman said that her government “continues to support the Keystone XL project and the benefits that it will bring to both Canada and the United States,” and pointed to emissions reductions in oil sands production.

“Not only has the project itself changed significantly since it was first proposed, but Canada’s oilsands production has also changed significantly,” she told the CBC. “Per-barrel oilsands GHG emissions have dropped 31 percent since 2000, and innovation will continue to drive progress.”

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