June 10, 2021: Stopped by U.S. President Joe Biden, Canada’s TC Energy said Wednesday it has formally scrapped the Keystone XL pipeline project, throwing a towel over a controversial move to oppose environmentalists.
Confirming that it had informed the government in a press release, the company said in a press release that TC Energy “is committed to fulfilling its environmental and regulatory commitments.They will liaise with regulatory bodies, indigenous groups and other stakeholders to ensure a safe exit from the project.
Biden formally acquitted the license for the first proposed pipeline in 2008, through an executive order on his first day in office in January 2021. He vowed to scrap the project during the presidential campaign because of environmental concerns, contrary to the position of his predecessor, Donald Trump. While the project has long had Canadian support, Keystone XL has been opposed by environmentalists and indigenous groups, who have rallied against the pipeline in Washington, Ottawa and affected areas over the past decade.
The 1,210-mile (1,950-kilometer) pipeline, which began in Ibrasa, was to carry up to 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta’s oil sands to Nebraska and then through existing systems to refineries in coastal Texas. TC Energy argued that importing so much oil from friendly, neighboring Canada would reduce US dependence on the Middle East and Venezuela by 40%. The State Department estimates the project will create 42,000 temporary jobs over a two-year construction period, but opponents note that only 35 permanent jobs will be created to rehabilitate the pipeline.
According to experts, the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan are likely to pay the price for the completion of the pipeline. The province said in a statement that Alberta would “look for all options to restore government investment in the pipeline”, adding that it would eventually cost about 3 1.3 billion (US 1. 1.1 billion).
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has said he is “disappointed” with the cancellation. “Alberta will continue to play a key role in a reliable, affordable North American energy system,” he said. “We will work with our US partners to ensure that we meet US energy requirements through responsible development and transportation of our resources.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had objected to the plan under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and former President Barack Obama vetoed congressional approval of the Keystone proposal in 2015. However, Trump “shined.” Supported the pipeline as the acquisition of “new infrastructure” and tried to restore the process, but failed to do so in 2018 due to court rulings halting construction in 2018, before permits were approved.
Alberta’s tar sands are thought to contain “excess” oil on the planet. Unlike conventional crude oil that comes out of the well, the tar sand oil must be drilled and must be melted with steaming hot water before it can be refined. As a result, huge lakes of polluted water and once upon a time millions of acres of ancient boreal forest strip are mined.
Environmentalists say tar sand oil contains a harmful and corrosive ingredient – bitumen – which can cause a pipeline to rupture or increase its risk, with greater health and safety risks. TC Energy argues that the buried pipeline is safer for oil deliveries than ships or trains, but critics note that the current section of the Keystone pipeline has produced a dozen leaks in its first year.
Kendall Mackey, a campaigner with the activist group @350, said the project’s demise was a harbinger of more casualties as environmentalists challenge fossil fuels. “The fight to stop Keystone XL was never about one pipeline,” Mackey said in a news release. “This victory puts polluters and their financiers on notice: terminate your fossil fuel projects now, or a relentless mass movement will stop them for you.”
“After more than 10 years — we have finally defeated an oil and gas giant! Keystone XL is DEAD! We are dancing in our hearts for this victory!” the Indigenous Environmental Network tweeted Wednesday.
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