President Biden Cancels Keystone XL Pipeline in One of his First Acts in Office

Among the 17 executive actions that President Joe Biden made during his first day in office was signing an executive order canceling the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The order, which was signed on Wednesday afternoon, will end construction on a 1,209-mile pipeline that was designed to carry oil from Canada through multiple states to the Gulf Coast in Texas. 

Based on reports that the new administration would cancel the permits, construction on the pipeline was reportedly suspended before the order was signed, according to the Associated Press. “As a result of the expected revocation of the Presidential Permit, advancement of the project will be suspended,” the Canada-based company said in a statement.

Multiple legal actions were filed against the project by environmental organizations during the last year.  Several environmental advocacy organizations filed a complaint against the Department of Interior in July claiming that the environmental review documents for the project violated federal laws. The Indigenous Environmental Network and the North Coast Rivers Alliance filed a complaint that challenged the project in December claiming that the permit relied on insufficient information, the parties reported that they also took legal action against the project in June. 

Reports that the pipeline permits would be canceled led to praise from environmental groups, but also some criticism. Fox Business reported that this action would end jobs for thousands of Americans, the pipeline was projected to sustain over 11,000 jobs. 

According to the Associated Press, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in favor of the project and talked to Biden about it in November. The project was expected to expand oil exports and be a boon for Canada. Reuters, however, reported that canceling the project could be a “blessing in disguise” for Trudeau by allowing Biden and Trudeau to address other issues, like the COVID-19 pandemic. 

President Trump reversed a decision made by President Obama to block construction on the pipeline; today’s action continues the back-and-forth battle over the project. According to a report by CNN, the executive order also directs various federal agencies to review, and potentially reverse, over 100 actions that President Trump made relating to the environment.