TORONTO — The premier of Canada's oil-rich province of Alberta wants President-elect Joe Biden to give the Canadian government a chance to make the case for the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline to be built.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Monday he will seek legal damages if reports are true that Biden plans to scrap the pipeline Wednesday on his first day as president. Biden's plan is outlined in transition documents seen by Canadian media outlets.
"We hope President-elect Biden will show respect for Canada and will sit down and at the very least talk to us," Kenney said.
The words "Rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit" appear on the list of Biden's first-day executive actions, according to CBC News, a Canadian news outlet.
The 1,700-mile pipeline would carry roughly 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast, passing through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.
Shortly after the report came out, Nebraska’s Jane Kleeb tweeted her excitement.
Kleeb championed the fight against the pipeline and now leads the Nebraska Democratic Party.
“A decade of fighting and a scrappy Dem from Scranton (Biden) will be the one to hear the scrappy and very unlikely alliance of pipeline fighters. On. Day. One. #FingersCrossed #NoKXL,” she tweeted.
First proposed in 2008, the pipeline has become emblematic of the tensions between economic development and curbing the fossil fuel emissions that are causing climate change. The Obama administration rejected it, but President Donald Trump revived it and has been a strong supporter. Construction has already started.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised Keystone XL as a top priority when he spoke with Biden in a phone call in November. The project is meant to expand critical oil exports for Canada, which has the third-largest oil reserves in the world.
Trudeau and Biden are close and largely politically aligned, but the pipeline is expected to be early irritant, as Biden has said he would halt it.
After reports surfaced that it would be canceled on the first day of Biden's term, Calgary, Alberta-based TC Energy Corp. announced late Sunday it would spend $1.7 billion on a solar, wind and battery-powered operating system for the pipeline to ensure it is zero-emission by 2030, and to rely exclusively on union labor.
Federal Natural Resource Minister Seamus O'Regan said in a statement his government continues to make the case for the pipeline to American colleagues.
"Canadian oil is produced under strong environmental and climate policy frameworks, and this project will not only strengthen the vital Canada-U.S energy relationship, but create thousands of good jobs for workers on both sides of the border," he said.