Washington: US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order to revoke the existing presidential permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, which would carry oil from Canada to the US Gulf Coast.
Oil industry groups and Republicans in the US opposed the move, arguing it would result in job losses and put energy security at risk.
But environmental groups and Democrats praised Biden’s decision, arguing the Keystone XL project would worsen climate change.
“President Biden hit the ground running on the strongest White House climate plan ever, with executive action to rejoin the landmark Paris climate agreement, reject the dirty tar sands pipeline,” Mitchell Bernard, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement.
“It makes the US once more part of the global climate solution-not the problem. It makes clear that the country is moving away from dirty fossil fuels and toward a cleaner, smarter ways to power our future,” Bernard said.
TC Energy Corporation, a Canadian company behind the Keystone XL project, said earlier
Wednesday that “advancement of the project will be suspended” in anticipation of Biden’s order.
“TC Energy will review the decision, assess its implications, and consider its options,” the company said in a statement, noting revoking the permit for the project would “directly lead to the layoff of thousands of union workers.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that “we are disappointed but acknowledge the President’s decision to fulfil his election campaign promise on Keystone XL”. “I look forward to working with President Biden to reduce pollution, combat climate change, fight Covid-19,
create middle class jobs, and build back better by supporting a sustainable economic recovery for everyone,” Trudeau said in a statement.
The Keystone XL project was rejected by former President Barack Obama in 2015. Former President Donald Trump reversed the decision in 2017. Biden signed 17 executive orders, which included US to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The first order Biden signed was to mandate the wearing of masks and observance of social distancing on federal government offices and on planes, trains and buses traveling between states.
Another order ended the construction of the wall on the Mexican border that Trump had ordered to deter illegal immigration. Meanwhile, it was announced that Biden will speak to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, according to the White House as his first call to a foreign leader.
Addressing reporters on Wednesday shortly after Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ inauguration, press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters: “I expect they will certainly discuss the important relationship with Canada as well as (Biden’s) decision on the Keystone pipeline that he announced today.”