Scott Moe ‘disappointed’ with Joe Biden’s plan to cancel Keystone XL pipeline

Click to play video: 'Scott Moe ‘disappointed’ with Joe Biden’s plan to cancel Keystone XL pipeline'
Scott Moe ‘disappointed’ with Joe Biden’s plan to cancel Keystone XL pipeline
WATCH: Reports that U.S. president-elect Joe Biden plans to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion are reverberating in Saskatchewan – Jan 19, 2021

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe expressed his concerns Sunday night after hearing about Joe Biden’s plans to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion.

“It’s very disappointing to hear reports that President-elect Biden is planning to shut down the Keystone Pipeline expansion on his first day in office,” Moe said in a statement Sunday.

“Construction of this project should be a top priority for Canadian-U.S. economic relations. It is critical to North American energy security, will have a tremendous employment impact north and south of the border, and has garnered significant Indigenous support.

“Environmentally, Keystone will reach net-zero emissions when it first turns on, and will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.“

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Transition documents suggest it will be Biden’s first order of business when he officially becomes president of the United States on Wednesday.

The documents, seen by The Canadian Press, feature a to-do list for inauguration day that includes signing an executive order to rescind the Keystone XL construction permit granted in 2019 by predecessor Donald Trump.

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In May, campaign officials promised Biden would cancel the US$8-billion cross-border project if elected, but neither the timeline nor the extent of Biden’s own commitment to the promise was clear until now.

“While I am urging the prime minister to leverage his relationship with Mr. Biden, Saskatchewan will continue exercising our contacts in Washington, D.C., to advocate for the continuation of this project that clearly benefits both of our nations,” Moe said.

Click to play video: 'Calgary political scientist analyzes what it means should Biden cancel Keystone XL'
Calgary political scientist analyzes what it means should Biden cancel Keystone XL

The controversial, on-again, off-again pipeline expansion, owned by Calgary-based TC Energy, would ferry up to 830,000 additional barrels a day of diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

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Around 200 kilometres of the pipeline has already been installed.

University of Regina economics professor weighs in

Jason Childs, University of Regina economics professor, says there is no doubt the decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline will have a negative impact on Saskatchewan.

We weren’t going to be putting a ton of oil into this pipeline in Saskatchewan,” Childs said. “It was going to be more for Alberta-generated oil, but we are going to see it on the rail lines.

“If oil prices rise again… that’s going to have an impact on rail capacity and their ability to get other products to market.”

Childs questions whether the cancellation of the pipeline signifies a continued reluctance toward free trade from the incoming White House.

“It is an indication of which policy faction within the Democratic Party is rising to the floor and I think there’s a real possibility that this indicates a movement toward that green new deal ideology,” Childs said.

In a statement to Global News, federal Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan said Canada is looking forward to working with the incoming U.S. administration, but said it will continue to make the case for Canadian oil.

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with files from James McCarten of The Canadian Press, Global News and Kirby Bourne

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