President-elect Joe Biden is expected to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit on his first day in office, quickly reversing his predecessor’s approval of a project to move oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, according to a person familiar with Biden’s plans for his first days in office.
Environmentalists have long targeted the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline as both a contributor to climate change and a physical symbol of the country’s unwillingness to move away from an oil-based economy. Many Republicans, including President Donald Trump, argued the pipeline would create jobs and help local economies.
In late 2015, former President Barack Obama rejected the permit for the project, arguing it would undermine American leadership on the transition to sustainable fuels. Trump’s administration reversed that decision in early 2017, giving a green light for construction of the project to begin.
Construction has hit other economic and legal roadblocks since then, but environmentalists were pleased when Biden said during the presidential campaign that he intended to once again cancel the permit.
That is expected to happen on Jan. 20, amid a flurry of other executive actions that Biden plans to take to demonstrate his determination to reverse Trump’s legacy. Ending the Keystone project would send just such a signal.
Had it been completed, the pipeline was designed to take as much as 830,000 barrels a day of Canadian and North Dakota crude to refineries in Texas and Louisiana for processing into oil that could be exported oversees or used to enhance domestic supplies.