In an unsurprising announcement this week, Joe Biden’s campaign revealed he plans to rescind the Keystone XL pipeline permit if elected president. The statement from Biden’s campaign is the first that specifically addresses how Biden would handle the project. Pulling the permit would reverse action taken by President Donald Trump, who shortly after entering the White House in 2017 issued a cross-border construction permit for the $8 billion oil sands pipeline to be built across the US-Canada border. Such a politicized decision move would be a significant setback for our nation’s energy infrastructure – a decision that would fail to consider the serious ramifications for Americans who rely on affordable energy or those whose jobs are supported by the energy sector.
Biden campaign policy director Stef Feldman’s written statement to POLITICO said,
“Biden strongly opposed the Keystone pipeline in the last administration, stood alongside President Obama and Secretary Kerry to reject it in 2015, and will proudly stand in the Roosevelt Room again as President and stop it for good by rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline permit.”
The presumptive Democratic nominee’s opposition to the project raises the risk factor for TC Energy, the developer of the project who is attempting to start construction on the cross-border portion of the pipeline this year in order to carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil from Canada to the U.S. If completed, Keystone XL would strengthen grid resiliency and reliability, bolster American energy security, and serve as a critical economic investment when we need it most.
The project has unfortunately become subject to political controversy and targeted by activists as a bellwether for environmental policy. It has faced nearly a decade of permitting challenges and legal hurdles – the latest of which pulled water-crossing permits for the project issued by the Army Corps of Engineers.
However, Keystone XL remains an important infrastructure investment that has the opportunity to lower energy costs and strengthen American energy independence. Joe Biden’s hard stance against the project shows Americans he is willing to put politics before the wellbeing of American consumers and our energy security. Given the toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on the economy, now is not the time to be gambling with thousands of jobs and our nation’s energy development simply to earn political points.