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NEWS & ANALYSIS

Biden set to cancel Keystone XL pipeline during his first days in office: what will it mean for consumers?


On January 20, Joe Biden is set to sign nearly a dozen executive orders in a furious scramble to reverse anything done by President Trump. 

The orders are expected to include rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, undoing Trump’s Muslim travel ban and a mask mandate. 

“These executive actions will deliver relief to the millions of Americans that are struggling in the face of these crises,” Ron Klain, Biden’s incoming chief of staff, said in a memo. “President-elect Biden will take action – not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration, but also to start moving our country forward.” 

According to transition documents, one of the first things Joe Biden plans to do is cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline permit. 

In 2017, Trump granted a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, an $8 billion cross-border project with Canada. The pipeline was delayed for several years by the Obama administration before being rejected in 2015, which Trump reversed. 

Last March, TC Energy Corp. approved construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, designed to transport up to 830,000 barrels per day of oil from Alberta to Nebraska, after the Alberta government agreed to invest about $1.5 billion as equity and guarantee a $5.5-billion project loan.

Despite Biden’s election win, TC Energy spokesman Terry Cunha said the company is not adjusting its construction schedule. 

“Construction activity continues to take place,” he said. “As we wind down some activity due to the harsher winter weather in many areas across our footprint, it was planned for and is a normal part of the process when building large, multi-year infrastructure projects.”

So, when Biden rescinds the permit, what will this mean for consumers? 

With the continued increase in crude oil prices, gas prices are seeing another multi-month high across the country. The national average increased 4.2 cents per gallon to a grand total of $2.39 on Monday, according to AAA. 

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said canceling approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would cut off reliable Canadian oil to the U.S., will cause additional pressures for oil prices. 

“For now, the upward trend in gas prices may slow from the sharp rise in the last week, but motorists shouldn’t expect much of a break from rising gas prices, which now stand less than twenty cents from their year-ago levels,” DeHaan said.