Environmentalists secured a win on Wednesday when Canada’s TC Energy Corp and the Albertan provincial government announced they would cancel the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, more than a decade after it was first proposed.
The 1,200-mile line was an effort to carry more Canadian crude through the US, including Montana, South Dakota, to Steele City, Nebraska. The pipeline would have moved 35 million gallons of crude each day, connecting to other pipelines that feed refineries along the Gulf Coast, according to The Associated Press.
The project has been a point of contention among environmental activists and community groups for years.
The decision to abandon the project was expected after President Joe Biden revoked the pipeline’s permit to cross into the US’s northern border in January. Construction on the pipeline shut down that same day.
“We value the strong relationships we’ve built through the development of this Project and the experience we’ve gained,” TC Energy President and CEO François Poirier said in a statement.
GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky on Friday came out swinging against President Joe Biden, saying that the Democratic president’s push for a $15 minimum wage would hurt Black youth.
During an interview with Fox host Sean Hannity, Paul alleged that a minimum wage increase would put 4 million people out of work.
“The people who lose their jobs first when you hike up the minimum wage are Black teenagers,” Paul said. “So, you know, ‘Why does Joe Biden hate Black teenagers?’ should be the question. Why does Joe Biden want to destroy all of these jobs?”
He added: “Even the government says that nearly 4 million people will lose their jobs.”
According to a Congressional Budget Office report, there’s a two-thirds chance that raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 would cause zero job losses on the low end of estimates to 3.7 million job losses on the high end of estimates, with a median CBO estimate of 1.3 million job losses.
However, the CBO also estimates that a $15 minimum wage would increase pay for 17 million workers.
“It’s kind of a strange beginning to an administration,” Paul said. “You’re going to put your best foot forward and the first thing you say is, ‘This is how I’m going to kill jobs’ … ‘I’m going to kill thousands of jobs of the Keystone pipeline with ending it.'”
While in office, former President Donald Trump championed the US-Canada project, saying it would create 28,000 US jobs, a number that was disputed by The Washington Post in 2017. That same year, ABC News also noted that the majority of the jobs involving the pipeline would be temporary.
President-elect Joe Biden plans on canceling the controversial Keystone XL pipeline permit via executive order on his first day of office, sources told CBC News.
According to CBC, the order was part of a larger planned list of executive actions meant to reverse some of President Donald Trump’s key policies. They include re-joining the Paris Climate Accord and reversing the Muslim travel ban Trump instituted in his first days in office. Biden also plans on instituting a 100-day mask-wearing mandate.
“These executive actions will deliver relief to the millions of Americans that are struggling in the face of these crises,” Ron Klain, Biden’s incoming chief of staff, said in the memo released over the weekend seen by the AP. “President-elect Biden will take action – not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration – but also to start moving our country forward.”
Insider has reached out to the Biden transition team for further comment.
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline has been in development for more than ten years, and was approved by the Canadian National Energy Board in 2010. As planned, it would be a 1,179-mile pipeline running from Alberta, Canada, to Nebraska, carrying more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day.
But the project failed to get off the ground during President Barack Obama’s administration. Obama balked at the plan, arguing that the environmental devastation the pipeline would cause would be too high a price to pay.
“America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action on climate change,” Obama said in 2015. “Frankly, approving that project would have undercut that global leadership, and that is the biggest risk we face: not acting.”
When Trump entered office in 2017, he almost immediately revived conversation around the pipeline, fast-tracking the project because he said it would create nearly 30,000 US jobs, a number the Washington Post disputed at the time, and ABC News noted that the vast majority of those roles would be temporary.
Environmental lobbyists were able to successfully stanch the project for several years, and by 2020, enthusiasm for the project had begun to wane. In June 2020, Trump took the Keystone XL case to the Supreme Court to dispute a lower court ruling that prevented work on the pipeline to continue because of the environmental damage it was causing. The Supreme Court sent the case back down to the lower courts.
The reported rescission of the Keystone XL permit is among several climate change-related changes Biden’s team plans to make in the early days of his administration.
Jason Kenney, the premier of Alberta, said in a statement posted to Twitter he was concerned that rescinding the permit 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.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that he would press for a continuation of the pipeline project with the new administration.
“It has been a long position of mine that we need to get our resources to new markets safely and securely, and that’s why I’ve always advocated for the Keystone XL pipeline,” Trudeau said in a May 2020 press conference.