Premier promises action after Joe Biden vows to quash Keystone XL

By Catherine Griwkowsky May 20, 2020

U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden will rip up the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline if he takes a seat in the White House early next year, according to his campaign team.

Premier Jason Kenney put up his battle swords in a news conference Tuesday, stating he will use all legal tools available to fight the move if Biden is elected into office.

The premier emphasized the thousands of U.S. jobs the project would create, stressing their necessity during the post-COVID-19 recovery.

“As we hopefully begin to emerge from this pandemic, the public both in the United States and Canada will be increasingly focused on jobs and the economy, and that is why this project needs to proceed,” Kenney told reporters, while also zeroing in on environmental critics.

NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said the project has always been a political and legal risk and Biden’s opposition shouldn’t come as a surprise, given his policies as vice-president under president Barack Obama, who rejected the pipeline’s permit in 2015.

“Unfortunately, these calls fell on deaf ears and Jason Kenney has effectively placed a $7.5-billion bet on Donald Trump winning the White House,” Notley said in a statement.

On March 31, the provincial government announced a $1.5-billion equity investment in the pipeline, and pledged a $6-billion loan guarantee in 2021 to get the pipeline built.

When asked what the province could do to recover costs in the event the pipeline is killed, Kenney said his government undertook “extensive legal analysis” on that question.

“The problem is the money doesn’t belong to Jason Kenney — it belongs to the people of Alberta,” Notley said.

Premier Kenney said the project would ramp up North America’s energy security on the heels of the price war with Saudi Arabia and Russia and make the U.S. less dependent on imports from OPEC and Venezuela, while also stimulating the post-pandemic economy.

In a statement on Monday, Energy Minister Sonya Savage said the pipeline enjoys bipartisan support in the U.S. due to its job creation.

“Rather than speculating about the outcome of the U.S. election, we will spend our time continuing to meet with our U.S. allies and speak to Alberta’s role in supporting North American energy independence and security,” Savage said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters he would press any president to approve the pipeline.

A crucial KXL permit was recently overturned by a Montana judge, but construction on other portions of the pipeline continues. Americans head to the polls on November 3.