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To put it bluntly, the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline has been a 12-year catastrophe. From when the pipeline (stretching from Alberta to Nebraska) was first proposed in 2008, to when it was vetoed by President Obama in 2015, to the Trump administration’s fractured attempt to reinstate construction, the pipeline has been the embodiment of the battle between the past and the future when it comes to energy infrastructure.
Environmentalists are almost universally against the pipeline’s expansion which is why it was welcome news when Joe Biden announced yesterday that he would rescind President Donald Trump’s permit allowing the Keystone XL oil pipeline to cross the border into the U.S. A move that, as Politico explained, would effectively kill the controversial project.
Clear Signal: Biden campaign policy director Stef Feldman said in a written statement to POLITICO:
“Biden strongly opposed the Keystone pipeline in the last administration, stood alongside President Obama and Secretary Kerry to reject it in 2015, and will proudly stand in the Roosevelt Room again as President and stop it for good by rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline permit.”
Former Vice President Biden has been criticized for his unwillingness to commit to banning all fracking should he be elected president. From the beginning of his 2020 presidential bid, Biden has worked on a measured approach when it comes to fossil fuel energy infrastructure. But committing to putting a stop to the Keystone XL pipeline sends a message of Biden’s commitment to putting the nation on a path to a clean energy economy.
Now the question will be, how will the Biden campaign counter attacks from the right that squashing KXL is a blow to jobs? If the campaign can successfully message its stance on the pipeline it will prove to be an important roadmap for the Democratic party–which has yet to find its footing in messaging the massive job-creating potential of the Green New Deal.
President Trump trumpeted his trade deal with China, but so far it has been a bust, according to The Wall Street Journal — the Chinese have not purchased nearly the amount of energy (in terms of total dollars) as they promised — only $2B in oil and gas purchases against a commitment of $25B for this year.
A federal judge in Washington, DC ruled yesterday that the Dakota Access Pipeline must shut down and empty all its oil until the government completes an environmental review of the pipeline’s impacts, giving the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies downstream, a huge victory. Similarly, late in the day, the Supreme Court refused to overturn the order of a district judge that shut down construction of parts of the Keystone XL pipeline so it is also blocked for now.
Why It Matters: The Dakota and Keystone XL news is greatly tempered by the fact that numerous other pipeline projects can go ahead despite their inadequate permit unless they are individually challenged in court and blocked.
Yesterday, Dominion Energy and its partner, Duke Energy, announced they were ending a 600-mile natural gas project that would have cost at least $8 billion to complete. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote, Dominion and Duke canceled the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in the face of mounting regulatory uncertainty caused by a federal court […]
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