Keystone XL, first proposed over 12 years ago and given little chance for completion with the incoming and generally anti - fossil fuel Joe Biden administration, is pulling out all the stops in one last ditch effort to make its ultimate demise politically impossible.
The Justin Trudeau government is supporting the construction of as much of the pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta across the border into Nebraska as it can before president-elect Biden assumes office on 20 January.
“The Canadian government is going to make it as difficult as they can [to kill the project] because they've indicated that the number one priority of their interaction with the new administration is Keystone XL,” Kai Nagata of the Dogwood Initiative explains. “You would think that in the middle of a pandemic, where we have the longest unprotected border in the world closed to travel and commerce, there might be other priorities.”
TC Energy, the giant Canadian energy company, said this past March that it intended to start construction after the provincial government in Alberta invested $1.1 billion to jump-start the work.
“We’ve looked at the incoming Biden administration’s Build Back Better plan and the steps that we’ve already taken with Keystone XL, we believe, have positioned it very favorably, particularly as we bring jobs to the economy next year, a key platform for the U.S. government as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bevin Wirzba, president of liquids pipelines, said during a webcast from the Calgary-based company’s investor day.
Indeed the province of Alberta is banking on the economic argument prevailing over the environmental one that the Biden team has made so often. Alberta premier Jason Kenney emphasizes the importance of Alberta oil to American energy security. Moreover, he says, the American economy is fueled by Alberta energy.
The Canadian public and private sectors have sunk billions of dollars into Keystone XL. Yet I fail to see the sunk cost argument holding sway with the Biden camp, which is already transitioning away from hydrocarbons to renewables and the promise of a low - carbon future.