Calgary-based pipeliner TC Energy has launched a US$15-billion trade complaint against the United States after President Joe Biden cancelled the presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
The company said it filed its notice of intent under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was replaced in 2020 but still has a three-year window for complaints, CBC reports.
After the company and the Alberta government announced last month that they were giving up on the project, Southern Methodist University energy law professor James Coleman said the company could claim it was “treated in a discriminatory fashion,” CBC says.
“With that said, nobody’s ever won a NAFTA suit against the United States,” Coleman added. “So I think most people would say your odds of success are less than 50-50.”
Last year, the Kenney government showered more than C$7.4 billion in “strategic investment” and loan guarantees on the pipeline, just weeks before Biden pledged on the campaign trail to cancel the project. In mid-June, Finance Minister Travis Toews admitted the province had lost $1.3 billion on the venture.
While Keystone XL will never be built, U.S. landowners who opposed the pipeline are still fighting for control of the hundreds of miles of right of way that TC Energy expropriated from farms and ranches along the 1,210-mile/1,950-kilometre route, Inside Climate News writes.
“We’re still not sure where we’re at,” said Nebraska rancher Richard Johnson. “If they secure an easement, they could sell it or assign it. To what it could be used for, I’m not real sure. But it’s that unknown that concerns me.”