Saskatchewan chief disappointed about Biden’s Keystone XL decision

Nekaneet Cree Nation Chief Alvin Francis said he doesn’t feel this is the end of the Keystone XL pipeline. Reuters/ Terray Sylvester

United States President Joe Biden‘s recent move to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline was disappointing to one of its First Nations partners.

Nekaneet Cree Nation, which is in southwest Saskatchewan, is part owner of the pipeline through Natural Law Energy.

Chief Alvin Francis spoke with Global News prior to the decision being officially announced on Wednesday and expressed optimism.

Read more: Biden revokes presidential permit for Keystone XL pipeline expansion on 1st day

“I’m disappointed … of course, and I actually don’t blame Joe Biden because of what (Donald) Trump has done in his term. I can see (Biden) pushing that way,” Francis said.

“I always try to tell people, the glass is always half full, never half empty.

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“I want my First Nation to be successful … and there’s many things out there that I’m going to have to pay more attention to … I’m always trying to think of what is out there as being the next thing? Because if I don’t do that as being the leader of my community, I’m not doing my job. I always have to lead. Every morning’s a new day.”

Read more: Saskatchewan First Nation to be part owner of Keystone XL pipeline

He said the plan was to refocus and make construction of the oil pipeline as green as possible.

“We just have to refocus and re-strategize about how do we make this pipeline greener through Mother Earth. How do we do it? Sun, solar, the wind, how do we make sure it does not get any carbon emissions?” Francis said.

“It’s about proving the scientific way of building a pipeline … Let’s find those scientific ways to make this better, to make sure that we utilize the technologies that are coming up and using what is there today.”

“They have very knowledgeable people, TC Energy, and they will do it. They will put a plan in place and I’ll be part of that plan to make sure that we have our view on it, First Nations view on it so that we can continue to be successful together.”

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Alberta Premier ‘disappointed’ by reaction from Canadian officials over cancellation of Keystone XL – Jan 20, 2021

Francis also wants to be part of future pipeline discussions between Canada’s governments and the U.S.

The Saskatchewan premier issued a statement regarding the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States.

“To this end, it is incredibly troubling that TC Energy has suspended work on Keystone XL in light of the pipeline’s looming cancellation by the Biden administration,” read Moe’s statement.

“Now is the time for our nations to strengthen our trading relationship, not erect further barriers to collaborative and sustainable development.”

“Saskatchewan will continue to advocate for our interests with the new administration, including protecting the important trade and export supply chain between our nations and strengthening North America’s energy security.”

Nekaneet Cree Nation is approximately 370 km southwest of Regina.

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— With files from Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi