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Kenney speaks out over Biden proposal to cancel Keystone XL

Last Updated Jan 18, 2021 at 11:14 pm MDT

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – Premier Jason Kenney is pleading with the Biden administration to engage in talks before cancelling the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

On Sunday, transition documents seen by the Canadian Press, suggest President-elect Joe Biden plans to block the pipeline on his first day in the White House.

The documents include a to-do list dated Wednesday that includes rescinding the construction permit signed by predecessor Donald Trump.

Campaign officials promised in May that if elected, Biden would cancel the controversial cross-border project, but the timeline was never clear until now.

“Most importantly, this is by far the largest export product of Canada to the United States and Canada is the United States’ most important trading partner,” said Kenney.

Kenney added that Keystone represents 40,000 jobs in the U.S., and $3 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and said the choice is that the U.S. takes environmentally responsible energy from a close ally, or it gets it from Venezuela and other OPEC dictatorships.

“We cannot imagine a circumstance where the United States would effectively choose to benefit OPEC dictatorships that have spread conflict and undermine global security rather than partnering with its closest democratic ally, Canada.”

Kenney asked that Biden show Canada the respect to actually sit down and hear the case in how we can be partners in prosperity, combating climate change and energy security.

He worries that if Keystone XL is nixed, other energy projects might follow.

“If this precedent is allowed to go forward, I believe those same political forces will then seek to get a presidential order, retroactively, to remove the permission for border crossing of other critical infrastructure.”

The equity investment from Alberta for the project is just over $1 billion and there could be another $150-200 million in exposure for the province in loan guarantees to TC Energy.

Kenney said parts of the pipeline could be sold to cover those costs.

WATCH: Kenney ‘deeply concerned’ about Keystone XL pipeline

He warned though that the long-term cost of the pipeline’s cancellations would mean a $30-billion-hit to Alberta’s economy by 2030.

The premier said Alberta is getting legal advice in both Canada and the U.S. about seeking compensation if the project is scrapped.

The Keystone XL project was first proposed in July 2008 from TC Energy, then TransCanada Corp. and ConocoPhillips and was approved by the former National Energy Board in 2010.

It was approved by the U.S. Senate for construction in 2015 before being vetoed by former President Barack Obama.

The project was later reinstated by an executive order from President Donald Trump in January 2017.

-With files from Courtney Theriault, CityNews and The Canadian Press