Environmentalists won a victory when TC Energy Corp. of Canada and Alberta’s provincial government announced that the controversial Keystone XL pipeline would be scrapped more than a decade after it was first planned.
The decision on Wednesday, June 9, had not been unexpected after President Biden used his first day in office to revoke a necessary permit for the pipeline to cross the country’s northern border, effectively halting development.
The 1,200-mile line was built to transport more Canadian petroleum through the United States, primarily through Montana and South Dakota, to Steele City, Nebraska. According to The Associated Press, the pipeline would have carried 35 million gallons of petroleum per day and connected to other pipelines that feed refineries around the Gulf Coast.
It’s a historic triumph for environmentalists who have spent a decade trying to stop the construction of new pipelines as a strategy to reduce oil use, which they say contributes to global warming, Wall Street Journal reported.
In a news release issued on Wednesday, TC Energy gave no reason for its final decision. However, it alluded to Mr. Biden’s decision and stated that it had done a thorough examination of its options before canceling the project. In addition, to address the growing North American demand for cleaner fuels, it stated it would expand its activities in delivering and storing natural gas, liquid fuels, and power.
Groups like 350.org, which campaigned against the Keystone XL pipeline, were also lobbying Wall Street to limit fossil-fuel extraction and were a driving force behind activist investors gaining board seats at Exxon Mobil Corp. earlier this month.
Environmental groups hailed TC’s decision as a watershed moment, and 350.org cited its history of organizing sit-ins in front of the White House to protest Keystone XL. It stated that it would work to stop more pipelines from being built.
“When this fight began, people thought Big Oil couldn’t be beat,’’ said Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org. “But when enough people rise up, we’re stronger even than the richest fossil-fuel companies.”
Protesters have turned their attention to other Canadian pipelines, buoyed by the success of their struggle against Keystone XL. Protesters in Minnesota battled with police on Monday, June 7, as they rallied against Enbridge Inc.’s crude oil Line 3 artery’s development through the state. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.) attempts to withdraw a permit that permits the business to carry oil and natural gas beneath the Great Lakes.
“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,” stated Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. The province had put $1.1 billion into the project and will now have to pay for it. However, the government stated that it would continue to look at ways to recuperate its funds.
Mr. Biden’s decision, which overturned former President Trump’s approval of the pipeline, came before TC Energy could complete construction in the United States. It immediately halted work, announcing that over 1,000 construction jobs would be lost.
Mr. Biden’s critics condemned the layoffs, and six Republican states filed a lawsuit to reverse them. A total of around 20 Republican-led states have sued the Biden administration over the pipeline development halt.
“It’s a disgrace President Biden played politics and killed the Keystone XL Pipeline,” said Austin Knudsen, the attorney general in Montana, the lead plaintiff—along with the Texas attorney general of 23 GOP states. “The pipeline would have enhanced America’s energy independence while bringing much needed jobs, tax revenue, and economic development to rural communities in Montana and across the country.”