President-elect Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that he would cancel a permit critical to the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
The move marks the second time that a Democratic administration has effectively killed the $8 billion project. While environmental and conservation groups praised the move, TC Energy, the company behind the pipeline’s construction, argued in an earlier Supreme Court brief that scrapping the project would strip 1,500 construction workers and 300 inspection and management workers of their jobs.
Biden’s executive order, which he is expected to sign on Wednesday, would revoke “permits signed over the past four years that do not serve the U.S. national interest, including revoking the Presidential permit granted to the Keystone XL pipeline,” the administration said.
But even though Biden’s order will halt its construction temporarily, the pipeline’s fate is still uncertain. TC Energy could challenge Biden’s order in court or through the U.S.M.C.A., similar to a suit filed in 2015 after President Barack Obama first killed the project.
Despite the likely challenges in the future, environmentalists were quick to praise Biden’s move to scrap the 1,200-mile pipeline, which would have carried oil from western Canada to oil refineries throughout the Midwest and Gulf Coast.
“It’s been a decade long fight of working every single day,” said Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb when reports of Biden’s move first broke, crediting activists, local governments and tribal nations for not backing down in their opposition to the project.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday that he would ensure that those opposing the pipeline’s cancelation had their views heard and “considered by the incoming administration at the highest levels.” But he also acknowledged Biden’s commitment “made many months ago” to scrap the project, and that its completion was unlikely as a result.
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