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Biden Poised To Cancel Keystone XL Permit

Keystone XL pipeline sections sit on a train near Glendive, Mont.

Indigenous rights and environmental advocates are celebrating reports from Canadian and American news outlets that President-elect Joe Biden may cancel a crucial border crossing permit for the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office. Nearby county commissioners and Republican members of Montana’s congressional delegation are asking Biden to reconsider.

Fort Peck Assiniboine Council Chairman Lance FourStar believes Biden will cancel the presidential permit Donald Trump granted in 2019, as Biden said he would do during his presidential campaign.

“I don’t see him backing up on that," FourStar said.

Biden has stood against the Keystone XL pipeline since the Obama Administration on environmental grounds. The 1,200 mile pipeline would transport highly-polluting crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to the Gulf Coast of Texas.

FourStar, along with other Keystone XL opponents, say it poses a threat to clean water, breaks tribal land treaties and brings with it a heightened rate of human trafficking that tends to follow pipeline developments.

“The pipeline would basically poison our people," he said.

Keystone XL proponents say the pipeline would bring jobs and tax dollars to Montana and increase the country’s energy independence.

Valley County Commissioner Mary Armstrong has faith that pipeline developer TC Energy is using the most state of the art technology available and praises TC Energy for its patience through a decade long process.

“Well, I’m extremely disappointed that the president-elect would cancel the permit after all the investment that’s been made in the pipeline," Armstrong said.

TC Energy released a statement Sunday saying the Keystone XL project will be fully powered by renewable energy sources no later than 2030.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in a statement posted on Twitter said Alberta will work with TC Energy to explore its legal options if Biden does cancel the permit. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also recently expressed support for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Montana Sen. Steve Daines, Gov. Greg Gianforte and Rep. Matt Rosendale in letters and statements have urged Biden to reconsider cancelling the border crossing permit.

A spokesperson for Montana’s lone Democratic congressman Sen. Jon Tester told YPR that Tester encourages the Biden administration to hear from both proponents and opponents of the pipeline before coming to a decision.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.