By Giovanna Batti
The Keystone Pipeline extension was first proposed in 2008 and has since been a subject of frequent public concern. Environmentalists and Indigenous groups have long fought the project. In February of 2015, President Obama rallied against the construction of the pipeline. Two years later, President Trump signed the executive order for the pipeline construction to continue. His reasoning being that the pipeline would create around 28,000 construction jobs. However, those jobs have been halted due to various legal battles. The 1,179 mile pipeline was set to run from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska, which could carry 830,000 barrels of oil each day.
In his first days in office, United States President Joe Biden cancelled the Keystone Pipeline, which aligned with many of his campaign promises. The Canadian Government continues to support the project. On January 22, 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated he was “disappointed” with Biden's decision to block the Keystone Pipeline. According to a Global News report, Trudeau continued saying, “I am of course disappointed with this choice, to workers, especially in Alberta and Saskatchewan who have been hit hard. We will continue to have your backs. We will always stand up for good Canadian jobs.''
CEO and President of the Candian Association of Petroleum Producers, Tim McMillian, stated, “Cancelling the Keystone XL would immediately kill thousands of US and Canadian jobs, harm energy security and integration in North America, and have a negative effect on the economic recovery in both countries.'' Canadian oil producers have struggled for years due to low prices and congested pipelines. The number of working people in Canada's oil industry has fallen by more than 14,000 last spring due to the economic impact of COVID - 19.
Biden’s administration is reliant on decarbonation, yet most of the United States’ energy still comes from fossil fuels. Canada is the world's fourth largest crude producer and exports 3.8 million bpd (barrels of oil produced each day) to the United States (US Energy Department Data). This number is expected to rise between 4.2 million and 4.4 million bpd in the next couple of years. Without the pipeline, the United States still relies on Canada for more than half of its imported oil. Canada should take note of the massive steps the Biden administration has taken. Canada's energy minister said the country should “respect” Biden's decision. Environmentalists have applauded Biden for his efforts to tackle the climate crisis. If anything, Canada should do the same. There are many sources of clean energy in Canada. These sources include hydro, wind, geothermal, solar and biomass. It is crucial to change and adapt to new environmental policies that create jobs yet address the true crisis facing our earth today, climate change.