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Biden reportedly plans 'to cancel' Keystone XL Pipeline on his first day in office

1 year 8 months 2 weeks ago Tuesday, January 19 2021 Jan 19, 2021 January 19, 2021 5:29 AM January 19, 2021 in News
Source: BBC

President-elect Joe Biden has indicated that he will cancel the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline on his first day in office.

According to the BBC, enviornmentalists and Native American groups had long protested the construction of the pipeline that was expected to bring oil nearly 1,200 miles from the Canadian province of Alberta all the way to Nebraska, where it would join an existing pipeline.

Decade-long protests over the pipeline were put on pause when work on the pipeline came to halt just before 2019.

But that year, after President Donald Trump overturned a decision by former President Barack Obama, who vetoed a bill approving construction in 2015, pipeline construction restarted.

The privately financed pipeline is expected to cost about $8 billion dollars.

However, that is expected to change when President-elect Biden takes office. According to the BBC, Biden will sign an executive order revoking the permit for Keystone XL on Inauguration Day - 20 January.

He will also return the US to the Paris climate agreement, which is a global agreement to cut carbon emissions. In so doing, Biden will reverse yet another decision by his predecessor, Mr. Trump. Biden has vowed to make the fight against climate change a top priority of his administration.

But not everyone is supportive of Mr. Biden's decision.

For example, Canadian leader Premier Jason Kenney, said he was "deeply concerned" by the reports of President-elect Biden's plans and said if the pipeline was canceled, his government would look at legal action.

The Keystone XL pipeline would carry some 830,000 barrels of heavy crude a day from the fields in Alberta to Nebraska, the BBC reports, and from there, the oil would travel via existing pipelines to reach refineries around the Gulf of Mexico.

The pipeline would bring oil extracted from Alberta's oil sands, a mixture of sand, water, clay and a thick substance called bitumen. The oil is more expensive and energy-intensive to extract than that from conventional sources.

Environmental groups like Greenpeace say the amount of greenhouse gases emitted per barrel of oil from the oil sands can be 30% higher throughout its life cycle than conventional oil.

But the Canadian government counters this by saying that technology has created more energy efficient practices, reducing climate-damaging emissions.

Indigenous groups in northern Alberta have sued the provincial and federal governments for damages from 15 years of oil sands development they were not consulted on, saying it infringed on their guaranteed rights to hunt, trap and fish on traditional lands.

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