The Canadian pipeline company, which had long tried to build the Keystone XL pipeline, announced Wednesday that it had ended the competitive project that was supposed to have transported Canadian tar sands oil to Nebraska.
The announcement was the death knell for a project that had been life-sustaining since President Biden’s first day in office and had previously stalled for years due to legal disputes despite support from the Trump administration.
On the day of his inauguration, Mr Biden, who has vowed to make combating climate change a core part of his administration, revoked planning permission for the pipeline, which developers had wanted to build for over a decade. On the same day, TC Energy, the company behind the project, announced that work on the line would be stopped.
On Wednesday, the company wrote in a statement that it “will continue to coordinate with regulators, stakeholders and indigenous groups to meet its environmental and regulatory obligations and ensure a safe completion and exit from the project.”
Environmental activists cheered the move and used the moment to urge Mr Biden to revoke Trump-era permits granted to another pipeline, Enbridge Line 3, designed to carry Canadian oil through Minnesota. Hundreds of demonstrators were arrested earlier this week during protests against the project.
“The termination of this zombie pipeline will set a precedent for President Biden and polluters to stop Line 3, Dakota Access and all fossil fuel projects,” said Kendall Mackey, campaign manager at 350.org, a climate protection group. “This victory makes polluters and their financiers sit up and take notice: End your fossil fuel projects now – or a relentless mass movement will stop them for you.”
The Republicans slammed Mr. Biden on Capitol Hill. “President Biden killed the Keystone XL pipeline and killed thousands of well-paying American jobs,” said Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, the senior Republican on the Senate Energy Committee. “On the day of the inauguration, the president signed an executive order that ended the pipeline construction and gave a thousand workers pink slips of paper. Now there will never be ten times as many jobs again. At a time when gasoline prices are skyrocketing, the White House is celebrating the death of a pipeline that would have brought relief to Americans. “
The 1,179-mile pipeline that would have transported 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada to the Gulf Coast had become a lightning rod in major political battles over energy, the environment and climate change. After environmental activists argued with President Barack Obama for years that the pipeline’s approval would mean a devastating blow to his efforts to fight climate change, Obama announced in 2015 that his administration would refuse the building permit.
Two days after his inauguration in 2017, President Donald J. Trump, who promised during the election campaign that he would overthrow Obama’s environmental legacy, signed an executive order reversing Obama’s decision and moving the pipeline forward. But in 2018, after some parts of the pipeline were built, a federal judge blocked further construction on the project on the grounds that the Trump administration had failed to conduct adequate environmental reviews before the Obama decision was overturned. The project had largely stalled since then.