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Biden reiterates opposition to Keystone XL pipeline in meeting with Canada’s Trudeau

23 February 2021 Amena Saiyid

US President Joe Biden had no plans to budge from his opposition to the Keystone XL crude pipeline during his first bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a White House spokeswoman said 23 February.

During a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden has been "very consistent" throughout his presidential campaign and thereafter about his opposition to Keystone XL due to climate impacts.

The same day he assumed office, 20 January, Biden signed an executive order to revoke the presidential permit that his predecessor granted in March 2019 to TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. "to construct, connect, operate, and maintain pipeline facilities at the international border of the United States and Canada."

The 1,210-mile pipeline would deliver crude from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska, hydrocarbons that would eventually end up with refiners on the US Gulf Coast. The federal permit granted a year ago was vital for establishing an international crossing point from Canada into Montana. Biden has revoked the permit for the crossing, which has had the effect of halting the project in its tracks, jeopardizing as many as 1,000 jobs, according to the pipeline developer.

Trudeau, who has publicly backed the pipeline, has conveyed his disappointment with Biden's action, but also is keenly aware of Biden's view that the permit should be revoked, Psaki said. "The Prime Minister raised his concerns directly with the President -- has previously -- and he's, of course, welcome to today," she added.

Biden remains steadfast in his belief that the US must prioritize the development of a clean energy economy, which will in turn create jobs.

In his order, Biden made it clear that "approval of the proposed pipeline would undermine US climate leadership by undercutting the credibility and influence of the United States in urging other countries to take ambitious climate action."

During a 4 February hearing before the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Republican senators said they would oppose the nomination of Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm to head the US Department of Energy because of the president's action on Keystone XL. Despite their opposition, Granholm's final confirmation awaits the full Senate, which is expected to vote the week of 22 February.

Posted 23 February 2021 by Amena Saiyid, Senior Climate and Energy Research Analyst

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