Jan 22, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Trudeau stresses "disappointment" with Keystone XL in first official call with Biden

Photo of Justin Trudeau walking outside

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo: DAVE CHAN/AFP via Getty

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday expressed his "disappointment" with President Biden's executive order to rescind permits for the Keystone XL pipeline, in a readout of the president's first official call with a foreign leader.

Why it matters: The prime minister has long backed the pipeline meant to carry crude oil from Alberta to Nebraska. Biden, however, campaigned on the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline.

What he's saying: In a news conference earlier Friday, Trudeau said: “We have so much alignment — not just me and President Biden, but Canadians and President Biden." He added, "I’m very much looking forward to working with President Biden,” per the New York Times.

  • On the call, however, Trudeau "raised Canada’s disappointment with the United States’ decision on the Keystone XL pipeline," according to the readout.
  • "The Prime Minister underscored the important economic and energy security benefits of our bilateral energy relationship as well as his support for energy workers."

The big picture: The pipeline project originally came with an $8 billion price tag and was expected to carry roughly 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from Canada through Nebraska, per The Washington Post.

  • Though President Obama rejected the pipeline, President Trump gave it the green light once in office.
  • Lawsuits slowed construction on the project throughout Trump's administration.
  • Two Native American communities sued the government over the pipeline last year, charging the government did not consult with tribes on the pipeline's proposed path, which crosses tribal lands.
  • Its permit repeal is one of several "critical first steps to address the climate crisis, create good union jobs, and advance environmental justice, while reversing the previous administration’s harmful policies," according to the Biden administration.

In their Friday call, the two leaders discussed collaborating on COVID vaccines and the flow of critical medical supplies, efforts to work with Indigenous people and plans to address climate change through cross-border clean electricity transmission and net-zero emissions.

  • "Both leaders have made combating climate change, defending human rights and strengthening international institutions central to their platforms," the Times writes.
  • "The leaders reiterated their firm commitment to multilateral institutions and alliance," per the readout.

Flashback: In 2017, Trudeau touted the Keystone XL pipeline, saying: "No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there. The resource will be developed. Our job is to ensure that this is done responsibly, safely and sustainably."

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