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Keystone XL pipeline sponsor pulls the plug on contentious project

Unused pipe for the Keystone XL pipeline, sit in a lot outside Gascoyne, North Dakota.
Getty Images via CNN
Unused pipe for the Keystone XL pipeline, sit in a lot outside Gascoyne, North Dakota.

BILLINGS, Montana — The sponsor of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline pulled the plug on the contentious project Wednesday 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 1,200-mile (1,930-kilometer) 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 (35 million gallons) of crude daily, connecting in Nebraska to other pipelines that feed oil refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Biden canceled the pipeline’s border crossing permit in January over longstanding concerns that burning oil sands crude could make climate change worse and harder to reverse.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had objected to the move, raising tensions between the U.S. and Canada. Officials in Alberta, where the line originated, expressed frustration in recent weeks that Trudeau wasn’t pushing Biden 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 reached an agreement with TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada, to exit that 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.

The province had hoped the pipeline would spur increased development in the oil sands and bring tens of billions of dollars in royalties over decades.

Climate change activists viewed the expansion of oil sands development as an environmental disaster that could speed up global warming as the fuel is burned. That turned Keystone into a flashpoint in the climate debate, and it became the focus of rallies and protests in Washington, D.C., and other cities.

Environmentalists who had fought the project since it was first announced in 2008 said its cancellation marks a “landmark moment” in the effort to curb the use of fossil fuels.

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

On Montana’s Fort Belknap Reservation, tribal president Andy Werk Jr. described the end of Keystone as a relief to Native Americans who stood against it out of concerns a line break could foul the Missouri River or other waterways.

Attorneys general from 21 states had sued to overturn Biden’s cancellation of the 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 Biden to reconsider.

Tester said in a statement Wednesday that he was disappointed in the project’s demise, but made no mention of Biden.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy committee, was more direct: “President Biden killed the Keystone XL Pipeline and with it, thousands of good-paying American jobs.”

A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on TC Energy’s announcement. In his Jan. 20 cancellation order, Biden said allowing the line to proceed “would not be consistent with my administration’s economic and climate imperatives.”

TC Energy said in canceling the pipeline that the company is focused on meeting “evolving energy demands” as the world transitions to different power sources. It said it has $7 billion in other projects under development.

Keystone XL’s price tag had ballooned as the project languished, increasing from $5.4 billion to $9 billion. Meanwhile, oil prices fell significantly — from more than $100 a barrel in 2008 to under $70 in recent months — slowing development of Canada’s oil sands and threatening to eat into any profits from moving the fuel to refineries.

A second TC Energy pipeline network, known simply as Keystone, has been delivering crude from Canada’s oil sands region since 2010. The company says on its website that Keystone has moved more than 3 billion barrels of crude from Alberta and an oil loading site in Cushing, Oklahoma.

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Associated Press

Comments

24 Comments

    1. You’re a nitwit Turner aka Alberto. How about 18 wheelers? What a 50 mile range pulling 80,000 pounds? Happy hitchhiking.

        1. You mean the same Yellow Freight (YRC) that was recently bailed out by the U.S. Government? Stop spreading fake news nitwit.

      1. Agree. The Demoturds know that they will be losing the House in 2022 and possibly the Senate. The question or issue is by how much.

        1. With the inflation that’s happening and gas prices it will be a slaughter! And Hyena Harris might be prez by then to make matters worse for them. Dat Chica has screws loose….or she’s high AF. Or both.

          1. Presidents have nothing to do with gas prices. Its $2.63 per gallon at Sam’s Club and falling. Go to Sam’s or buy a Tesla. In 5 years you won’t be able to buy a gasoline powered car. Have you tried to buy gas powered yard tools lately? Same thing is happening with transportation and heavy machinery. You can’t keep living in the past. Even low educated Republicans and Trumpites will have no choice but to keep up with change.

          2. Biden’s policies and his anti-America rhetoric are driving up prices of everything including gas. And yes I just bought a brand new gas powered lawn mower for my 4000 sq ft of lawn that I absolutely love and water 3 times a week!!

          3. Gas prices falling? Get out of your libturd bubble Turner. It’s going up due to your buddy dementia Joe. That’s what happens when you kill off pipelines. It’s $3.08 at Murphys/Walmart. The old Turner bragged about owning a Tesla that takes 4 hours to recharge with a measly 300 mile range. Go on Turner admit you are Turner.

      1. Too bad you can’t afford one Turner. Yes the new F150 EV is nice but still not well done or accepted by consumers in the know. I have a late model F150 XLT Sport with the gas guzzling Coyote 5.0 V8. I enjoy every minute of it. 450 miles one way on my last trip out of town with less than a 10 minute fill up time. BTW – The batteries in the F150 EV weigh 1500-1800 pounds each. So much for DIY maintenance. BTW – You’re a nitwit.

          1. In less than 5 years you will probably be in an insane asylum so wishful thinking. Go give your buddy Al Gore a hug.

    1. We understand it perfectly that’s why we’re fighting against it. WE know that electricity is not sustainable wind power is not sustainable solar is not sustainable we need a combination of all those things including nuclear and coal and gas that’s how you make it work. The amount of resources that are being wasted in the pursuit of components for electrical technology is devastating to the planet but you leftist socialist CNN roogandists never talk about that. I’ll tell you why don’t. Because you support FULL government control of EVERYTHING. What we buy. How we pay for it. When we can buy it. EVERYTHING at the expense of Americans freedoms and liberties

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