Canada PM Justin Trudeau ‘disappointed’ Biden chose to cancel Keystone XL pipeline

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday he was “disappointed” in President Joe Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have been a major source of energy income for the northern neighbor and key ally.

In a statement, Trudeau said he “spoke directly” to then-President-elect Biden in November in which officials in his government “made the case” to maintain the $8 billion project “to high-level officials in the incoming administration.”

“While we welcome the President’s commitment to fight climate change, we are disappointed but acknowledge the President’s decision to fulfill his election campaign promise on Keystone XL,” said Trudeau, according to the New York Post.

The Canadian leader went on to say that “Canada is the single-largest supplier of energy to the United States, contributing to U.S. energy security and economic competitiveness, and supporting thousands of jobs on both sides of the border.”

He added: “Workers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and across Canada will always have our support.”

Biden’s executive order canceling the permit authorizing construction of the pipeline was not the only one related to energy production. He has also imposed a moratorium on coal-mine leases on federal land, shored up fracking restrictions on federal land, suspended new oil-production leases on federal territory, and has directed federal agencies to revise energy standards — all of which experts expect will likely raise energy prices.

“He will sign a broad executive order that takes steps that are imperative to address our climate crisis and will create good union jobs and advance environmental justice,” said Biden’s national climate adviser Gina McCarthy on Tuesday.

She added that Biden planned to reverse “more than 100 of the previous administration’s harmful policies.”

Not only did fracking help make the U.S. energy independent for the first time in decades under the Trump administration’s policies, but it also led to a reduction in harmful emissions, according to experts.

The policy changes also have a direct negative effect on workers in the energy sector at a time when unemployment remains elevated due to COVID-19 business closures.

In Canada, Keystone XL developer and builder TC Energy announced it was suspending all construction on the 1,280-mile pipeline while warning that thousands of union workers will be tossed out of work if the Biden administration does not reverse course, the Financial Post reported.

Some Canadian officials were also put off by Biden’s decision, including Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who called TC Energy’s decision to suspend construction “incredibly troubling.”

“Now is the time for our nations to strengthen our trading relationships, not erect further barriers to collaborative and sustainable development,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada said in a statement the organization is unhappy that Biden appears to be “putting politics before reason” by suspending the pipeline, The Canadian Press reported.

“Pulling the plug on a major project, hours after taking office, is a rocky starting point for re-setting Canada/U.S. relations,” said PCAC president Paul de Jong.

The organization went on to note that the pipeline would have eventually generated some 60,000 direct and indirect jobs in the U.S. and Canada.

In urging Trudeau to continue pressing the Biden administration to reverse its decision, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney noted that about $1 billion of his government’s $1.5 billion investment is at risk if the pipeline remains canceled, the Canadian Press noted.

Jon Dougherty

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