FILE - In this Jun 12, 2019, file photo, walking up Main Street the procession protesting against the Keystone XL pipeline makes its way to Andrew W. Bogue Federal Courthouse in Rapid City, S.D. The sponsor of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline says it's pulling the plug on the contentious project, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, after Canadian officials failed to persuade the Biden administration to reverse its cancellation of the company's permit.(Adam Fondren/Rapid City Journal via AP)

Fight over Canadian oil rages on after pipeline’s demise

Fight over Canadian oil rages on after pipeline’s demise

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Keystone XL is dead after a 12-year attempt to build the oil pipeline, yet the fight over Canadian crude rages on as emboldened environmentalists target other projects and pressure President Joe Biden to intervene — all while oil imports from the north keep rising.

Biden dealt the fatal blow to the partially built $9 billion Keystone XL in January when he revoked its border-crossing permit issued by former President Donald Trump. On Wednesday, sponsors TC Energy and the province of Alberta gave up and declared the line “terminated.”

Activists and many scientists had warned that the pipeline would open a new spigot on Canada’s oil sands crude — and that burning the heavily polluting fuel would lock in climate change. As the fight escalated into a national debate over fossil fuels, Canadian crude exports to the U.S. steadily increased, driven largely by production from Alberta’s oil sands region.

Even before the cancellation, environmentalists had turned their attention to other projects, including Enbridge Energy’s proposal to expand and rebuild its Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota, the target of protests this week that led to the arrest of some 250 activists.

“Don’t expect these fights to go away anytime soon,” said Daniel Raimi, a fellow at Resources for the Future, an energy and environmental think tank in Washington. “This is going to encourage environmental advocates to do more of the same.”

Bill McKibben, an author who was arrested outside the White House while protesting the Keystone XL in 2011, said its defeat provides a template to kill other pipelines, including Line 3 and the Dakota Access Pipeline from North Dakota’s Bakken oil field.

Describing Keystone XL as “a carbon bomb,” McKibben said Line 3 is the same size and “carries the same stuff. How on earth could anyone with a straight face say Line 3 passes the climate test?”

Enbridge said the cancellation of Keystone XL will not affect its projects, describing them as “designed to meet current energy demand safely and in ways that better protect the environment.”

A second TC Energy pipeline network, known simply as Keystone, has been delivering crude from Canada’s oil sands region since 2010. The company says the line that runs from Alberta to Illinois, Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast has moved more than 3 billion barrels of oil.

Canada is by far the biggest foreign crude supplier to the U.S., which imported about 3.5 million barrels a day from its neighbor in 2020 — 61% of all U.S. oil imports.

The flow dropped slightly during the coronavirus pandemic but has largely rebounded. Import volumes have almost doubled since the Keystone XL was first proposed in 2008, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said Thursday that it expects no immediate effect on production from Keystone XL’s cancellation, but the group predicted more oil would be moved to the U.S. by rail.

A series of fiery accidents occurred in the U.S. and Canada after rail shipments of crude increased during an oil boom on the Northern Plains, including a 2013 incident in which 47 people were killed after a runaway train derailed in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic.

The dispute over Keystone XL and other lines raised diplomatic tensions between the two countries, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau adopted a conciliatory tone with Biden, who canceled the pipeline on his first day in the White House.

Canada uses much less oil than it produces, making it a huge exporter, and 98% of those exports go to the U.S., according to the Natural Resources Canada.

Trudeau raised Keystone XL as a top priority with Biden while acknowledging that the president had promised in his campaign to cancel the line.

Both leaders have taken heat at home over Keystone, with Republicans slamming Biden for shutting it down while construction was underway, costing hundreds of jobs. The project was meant to expand oil exports for Canada, which has the third-largest oil reserves in the world, and provincial officials in Alberta wanted Trudeau to do more to save it.

The White House declined to comment on the cancellation. Spokesman Vedant Patel declined to say if Biden plans to address increased crude exports from Canada or intervene in other pipeline disputes.

His action on Keystone “signals at least some appetite to get involved,” but pipelines that have operated for years would be tougher targets, Raimi said.

Winona LaDuke, executive director of the Indigenous-based environmental group Honor the Earth, called on Biden to withdraw an Army Corps of Engineers permit for Line 3 and to order a new study.

“He could stop the project,” she said. “Don’t ask us to be nice to Enbridge. They’re all over our land. They’re hurting us.”

The Biden administration has been “disturbingly quiet” on Line 3 and the Dakota Access line, said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. He urged the administration to declare both unacceptable.

Fiercely opposed by Native Americans, the Dakota Access pipeline was the impetus for protests that were quashed by law enforcement. The Biden administration has not sought to stop the line, and it’s still in court after a judge revoked its permit but allowed oil to keep flowing.

Alberta sank more than $1 billion into Keystone XL last year to kick-start construction. Officials in the province are considering a trade action against the U.S. to seek compensation.

Keystone XL’s price tag ballooned as the project languished, increasing from $5.4 billion to $9 billion.

Another question: What to do with pipe already in place at the U.S.-Canada border and other infrastructure along its route.

Jane Kleeb, a pipeline opponent in Nebraska, said state regulators should revoke the permit they approved for a route through the state. Otherwise, she said, TC Energy might try to sell the easements to another company.

Until the state acts, farmers and ranchers will continue to face TC Energy attorneys in court, “protecting their property from an eminent domain land grab by a foreign corporation,” she said.

___

Daly reported from Washington and Flesher from Traverse City, Michigan. Rob Gillies contributed from Toronto and Grant Schulte from Omaha, Nebraska.

___

Follow Brown on Twitter: @MatthewBrownAP

Matthew Brown, John Flesher And Matthew Daly, The Associated Press

Keystone XL

Just Posted

CMHA
Mental health support centre in central Alberta to receive funding

Shoppers Drug Mart is lending support to the Canadian Mental Health Association.… Continue reading

Downtown Red Deer was packed with people who lined the streets to watch the Westerner Days parade on Wednesday. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Westerner Days parade cancelled, full details on modified event coming June 28

The 2021 edition of Westerner Days will look much different than any… Continue reading

City council wants to hear from the public at a May 25 hearing about whether the temporary homeless shelter should be allowed to remain in the downtown for another year. (Advocate file photo).
City of Red Deer staff to recommend another extension to allow operations at current temporary shelter site

Following some more research city administration has received no other new locations… Continue reading

A scene from the short Western ‘Cheaters, Robbers and Outlaws,’ written and directed by Jason Steele, with support from Telus Storyhive. (Contributed image)
Red Deerians make ‘Cheaters, Robbers and Outlaws’ short Western film

Writer and director Jason Steele received a $20,000 Storyhive grant from Telus

Residents in several neighbourhoods reported little to no water pressure Tuesday night. (File photo by Advocate staff)
City hall to reopen for payments and customer service

Red Deer City Hall will reopen on June 21 for utility and… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: You can’t trust Mondays

Monday isn’t my favourite day. It insists on occurring right after a… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price stops Vegas Golden Knights' William Karlsson as he is covered by Canadiens' Joel Edmundson during first period of Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup semifinal Friday, June 18, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Andreson’s timely scoring, Price’s goaltending give Habs 2-1 series lead over Vegas

Canadiens 3 Golden Knights 2 (OT) (Montreal leads series 2-1) MONTREAL —… Continue reading

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) is defended by Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) as he looks for an opening during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal series Friday, June 18, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Curry, Harris help 76ers stay alive, hold off Hawks 104-99

76ers 104 Hawks 99 (Series tied 3-3) ATLANTA — Seth Curry hit… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise of a two-dose fall is… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, speaks during a press conference in Ottawa, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Mendicino has announced a new policy to help settle 500 refugees and their families in a news conference today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year: Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced plans to expedite applications and increase the… Continue reading

Louis Oosthuizen, of South Africa, plays his shot from the third tee during the second round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Friday, June 18, 2021, at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Bland leads at Torrey and shows the US Open is truly open

SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Open prides itself on being the most… Continue reading

The Prime Minister's car waits outside the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg Tuesday, May 19, 2009. The head of the Public Health Agency of Canada is showing no sign he'll release unredacted documents about the firing of two scientists at Canada's highest security laboratory — despite the prospect of being publicly shamed in the House of Commons for his refusal to turn them over. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
PHAC head maintains he’s bound by law not to release docs on fired scientists

OTTAWA — The head of the Public Health Agency of Canada is… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant in Canada

OTTAWA — The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly… Continue reading

Most Read