World News – CA – What the U.S. Elections Mean for Keystone XL Construction in Canada


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As part of his environmental policy, US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has pledged to revoke permits for the US portion of the Keystone XL That would likely end construction north of the border

The Canadian economy has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic But the small town of Oyen, Alta., is a rare bright spot many attribute to the Keystone XL pipeline

Construction of the Canadian portion of the pipeline began last summer, and since then more than 800 temporary workers have come to the area

« With the arrival of the pipeline, it’s an economic boom, » said Wanda Diakow, local economic development manager

« There has been a demand for additional housing in our area Your traffic on your highways has increased When you drive to town the population has increased – as if it were busier And it almost looks like it there’s an energy, you know, like there’s a buzz « 

But Diakow says the boom could turn into another collapse if former US Vice President Joe Biden wins next week’s presidential race As part of his environmental policy, Biden has pledged to recall the permit for the US portion of Keystone XL This would likely end construction north of the border

« This will have a huge impact on our region, » she said « I think there would be a lot of sad or crazy people »

The pipeline, which would transport 830,000 barrels per day of heavy crude oil from Alberta across the United States to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, has been under development for more than a decade Environmental groups and some farmers along the route have opposed the project since its first proposal in 2008 Biden was vice president when former President Barack Obama vetoed him in 2015 Two years later, President Donald Trump vetoed him in 2015 signed a decree allowing it to move forward

The Canadian economy, as a whole, is heavily dependent on the petroleum industry Canada is the third largest exporter of petroleum in the world and the largest foreign supplier of petroleum to the United States Most of this product comes from the ‘Alberta, 98% of exports going to the United States But with the collapse of oil prices in recent years and the pandemic, Alberta’s economy is struggling

« The plight of export markets and our ability to get that oil to market is critical to Canadian industry, » said Kathryn Harrison, political scientist specializing in environmental policy at the University of British Columbia.

Harrison says Canadian oil would still go to the United States, even without Keystone XL But growth in the oil industry has stalled and oil companies are relying on new pipelines such as Keystone XL to boost exports and allow further expansion

Harrison said producing the type of heavy oil that would be shipped through the pipeline is expensive and carbon intensive. This makes it particularly vulnerable if countries like the United States « take » their policies to reduce emissions seriously. of fossil fuels

« On the contrary, it pushes the Canadian industry to try to get as many of their products to market as they can while they still can, which is why they are so keen to build these pipelines »

« On the contrary, it pushes the Canadian industry to try to bring as many of their products to market as long as they can, which is why they are so keen to build these pipelines, » a- she declared

The U.S. portion of the pipeline has been blocked by lawsuits and regulatory disputes But last spring, the Alberta provincial government, led by Premier Jason Kenney, invested $ 1.1 billion to start construction on the side Canadian He’s moving forward even though pipeline project could be canceled if Biden is elected president

During a visit to Oyen in October, Kenney said canceling the project « would undermine the most important trading relationship the United States has in the world »

Kenney said he sent an envoy to Washington, DC to secure support for Keystone XL

« America’s Gulf Coast refineries need huge amounts of heavy crude oil And if it’s not from Alberta, then it’s from the socialist dictatorship of Venezuela, » he said

It’s not clear if Biden could actually halt this project Industry experts say they would expect a long and costly court battle

In Oyen, the debate helped shape people’s views on the presidential race south of the border

Walter Kyriakakis, owner of Halfway Pizza in Oyen, said business has grown by at least 40%, thanks to all the pipeline construction workers who have come to town

« The pipeline has been a blessing, it has done not only for me, but for this city »

« The pipeline has been a blessing, it’s what it has done not only for me but for this city, » he said

« I think Biden will try to shut down a lot of things, and Canada is like the United States. We depend a lot on export companies, and oil is one of them, » he said « If Biden were to come in I don’t think it would be good for Canada as a whole I don’t think it would be good for the world, to be honest with you »

Diakow said many townspeople were concerned about the possibility of a sudden interruption in construction of the pipeline But she said locals are resilient, so they will try to make the most of the boom as long as it lasts

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World news – CA – What the US election means for Keystone XL construction in Canada


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