One of US President-elect Joe Biden’s first acts in office will be to axe the cross-border permit for the multi-billion-dollar Keystone XL pipeline project. That’s according to sources familiar with the matter who told Politico and Reuters that he could do it as soon as his first day.
In a briefing note from Biden’s transition team, the words “Rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit” purportedly appear on a list of day one executive actions that Biden has planned, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports. The decision did not appear in a Saturday memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain listing the executive actions scheduled for Biden’s first 10 days in the White House, per Politico. However, it looks like that list may have still been a work in progress, as two lobbyists confirmed with the outlet that Biden has plans to yank the permit.
On the campaign trail, Biden promised to roll back several of President Donald Trump’s controversial policies and decisions, the pipeline being one of them. He was vice president when the Obama administration initially denied the project in 2015, saying that it would worsen climate change with added greenhouse gas emissions. Two years later, President Donald Trump restarted the project, setting off a long series of legal battles after indigenous and environmental opponents took him to court arguing that the proposed pipeline, which would pump crude oil from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska, crosses tribal lands and threatens waterways.
Construction for the pipeline is already well underway in Canada. In a statement this week, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., Kirsten Hillman, said she would continue to support the project so long as it falls in line with both countries’ environmental plans. “There is no better partner for the U.S. on climate action than Canada as we work together for green transition,” Hillman said per Reuters.
Rejoining the Paris Agreement is also among the list of Biden’s first planned executive actions, as seen in a screenshot shared by CBC reporter Alexander Panetta. Between that and the Keystone decision, this is shaping up to be one hell of a good week for environmental advocates.