Kenney Says Alberta Has ‘Strong Legal Basis’ to Seek Damages If Biden Administration Cancels Keystone XL Pipeline

Kenney Says Alberta Has ‘Strong Legal Basis’ to Seek Damages If Biden Administration Cancels Keystone XL Pipeline
Then presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del., on June 30, 2020. (Patrick Semansky/The Canadian Press/AP)
Andrew Chen

Indications that the incoming U.S. administration may be planning to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline is raising concerns for Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

A briefing note shared by members of President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team purportedly contains the words “Rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit,” suggesting the incoming president will cancel the project via executive action, CBC reported citing anonymous sources. The Epoch Times hasn’t confirmed the claim.

Should the Biden administration abrogate Keystone’s permit, Kenney said, Alberta will work with Keystone owner TC Energy to employ “all legal avenues available to protect its interest in the project.”

He said on Jan. 18 that Alberta has a strong legal basis for seeking damages if the Keystone XL pipeline expansion is killed, The Canadian Press reported.

Kenney said in a Jan. 17 Facebook post that he feels “deeply concerned“ by reports the Biden administration may ”repeal the Presidential permit for the Keystone XL border crossing next week.”

“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,” Kenney wrote.

Kenney noted that Canada’s petroleum production and commitment to climate change would meet the needs of the new U.S. administration. The United States has imported 3.7 million barrels of petroleum per day from Canada in 2019, and will likely consume just as much under Biden’s green policy, he said.

In 2017, President Donald Trump issued a presidential permit for the pipeline project, which had been rejected by former president Barack Obama in 2015.
Despite the gloomy prospects, TC Energy announced a new sustainable energy initiative for the project on Jan. 17. The company said it is committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2023 and have the operation fully powered by renewable energy by 2030.

“Canada and the United States are among the most environmentally responsible countries in the world with some of the strictest standards for fossil fuel production,” Keystone president Richard Prior said in a press release.

“We are confident that Keystone XL is not only the safest and most reliable method to transport oil to markets, but the initiatives announced today also ensures it will have the lowest environmental impact of an oil pipeline in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.”

The pipeline, which would link Alberta’s oilsands with U.S. refiners, “represents tens of thousands of good paying jobs that the American economy needs right now,” Kenney said.

Alberta invested $1.5 billion in the expansion in 2020, reported CP.

“We renew our call on the incoming administration to show respect for Canada as the United States’ most important trading partner and strategic ally by keeping that commitment to engage, and to allow Canada to make the case for strengthening cooperation on energy, the environment, and the economy through this project,” Kenney said.