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TC Energy says it will suspend work on Keystone XL pipeline
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TC Energy says it will suspend work on Keystone XL pipeline

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U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is planning to cancel the permit for the $9 billion Keystone XL pipeline project as one of his first acts in office, and perhaps as soon as his first day, according to a source familiar with his thinking. Bryan Wood reports.

Expecting that new President Joe Biden will revoke its permit, TC Energy Corp. on Wednesday announced it will suspend work on the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Canadian energy company said it will review the decision, assess its implications and consider its options. "However, as a result of the expected revocation of the presidential permit, advancement of the project will be suspended."

Neither Biden nor his staff have commented on the pipeline, but it's widely expected that canceling the permit will be among his first executive actions in office.

After reports surfaced that it would be canceled on the first day of Biden’s term, Calgary, Alberta-based TC Energy Corp. announced late Sunday it would spend $1.7 billion on a solar, wind and battery-powered operating system for the pipeline to ensure it is zero-emission by 2030, and to rely exclusively on union labor.

The 1,700-mile pipeline would carry roughly 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Alberta's premier, Jason Kenney, said Monday that he will seek legal damages if Biden cancels the permit.

First proposed in 2008, the pipeline has become emblematic of the tensions between economic development and curbing the fossil fuel emissions that are causing climate change. The Obama administration rejected it, but President Donald Trump revived it and has been a strong supporter. Construction has already started.

For a decade, legal and legislative issues have held up the pipeline in Nebraska, although the state's Supreme Court ruled last year in favor of the route through the state that the Public Service Commission approved.

Canadian officials tried to make the case for the pipeline to the incoming Biden administration. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised Keystone XL as a top priority when he spoke with Biden in a phone call in November. The project is meant to expand critical oil exports for Canada, which has the third-largest oil reserves in the world.

Jason Kenney, premier of the oil-rich province of Alberta, said late Tuesday he urged Trudeau to tell Biden that “rescinding the Keystone XL border crossing permit would damage the Canada-US bilateral relationship.”

Trudeau and Biden are politically aligned and there are expectations for a return to normal relations after four years of Trump, but the pipeline is an early irritant as Biden has long said he would cancel it.

Trudeau has tried to balance the oil industry’s desire for more pipelines with environmentalists’ concerns. He canceled one major pipeline to the Pacific coast from oil-rich Alberta, but approved another and instituted a national carbon tax.

PHOTOS: THE KEYSTONE XL SAGA

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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