Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden can be swayed into supporting the Keystone XL pipeline if he enters the White House in January, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said last week.
“We will use every tool at our disposal to get this project done,” Kenney said, during an event at a TC Energy pipe yard celebrating the beginning of construction on the Canadian segment of the controversial megaproject and future stranded asset.
In mid-May, Biden promised to cancel the project after the U.S. federal election November 3. “The policy director for Biden’s campaign said…that cancelling Keystone XL was the right decision in 2015, when Biden, then vice-president, attended a White House event where then-president Barack Obama cancelled the permit,” CBC reported at the time. “The emphatic statement from Biden’s campaign ends months of ambiguity, as Biden had not joined other Democratic candidates [for the presidential nomination] in pledging to revoke the permit.”
But Kenney “says his government would be reaching out to Democrats who support the project, as well as unions with members who would be put to work building it,” The Canadian Press reports.
“The premier says he believes those allies would impress upon Biden’s campaign the importance of the project to North American energy independence and national security,” the news agency says. “He adds the federal government should remind Biden’s team that cancelling the $C8-billion pipeline expansion would mean a ‘terrible blow’ to the Canada-U.S. trading relationship.”
Kenney may have missed the news (or, at least, may be hoping his supporters have) about Biden promising a tougher climate platform for the fall election, and receiving key Democratic Party endorsements as a result, while U.S. analysts pointed to climate as a lynchpin issue for Biden to gain support from younger voters across the political spectrum.
The former VP appointed a climate policy task force co-chaired by Green New Deal architect Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Obama-era secretary of state John Kerry. And days before Kenney’s statement, Democrats in the House of Representatives tabled a “sweeping” climate blueprint that calls for net-zero emissions by 2050, and a broader push to address environmental harms that fall disproportionately on poor and racialized communities.