The premier of Canada’s Alberta province called for sanctions against the US after newly elected President Joe Biden cancelled the CAN$8 billion Keystone XL Pipeline on Wednesday.
“This is a gut punch for the Canadian and Alberta economies,” Jason Kenney said in a fiery press conference while responding to the cancellation of the pipeline, which would carry about 830,000 barrels a day of heavy crude oil extracted from Alberta’s oil sands fields to the US state of Nebraska.
It would then connect with an existing pipeline to flow the crude to US Gulf Coast refineries.
Thousands of jobs evaporate with the cancellation, and the Alberta government has invested CAN$1.5 billion in the pipeline, which has been under construction for months in Canada.
Kenney said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should talk to Biden to try to get the project back on track. It was killed by then-president Barack Obama in 2015 and then given the green light again by former President Donald Trump early in his administration.
If the talks fail, Kenney called for retaliatory but unspecified economic sanctions against the US.
In a news release Wednesday, builder TC Energy said the project would deliver “much needed energy in an environmentally responsible way while enhancing North American energy security.”
Trudeau said this week that he had talked with Biden about the pipeline and reiterated the Canadian government’s support for the project, but it was apparently unsuccessful.
Besides calling for sanctions, Kenney threatened legal action.
“Alberta will work with TC Energy to use all legal avenues available to protect its interest in this project,” he said.
TC Energy launched a lawsuit and a claim under the North American Free Trade Agreement after Obama revoked approval of the project. It could do so again now that the project has been cancelled.
During his presidential campaign, Biden had promised to cancel the pipeline, and it was one of his first executive orders upon assuming office Wednesday.
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