Biden’s Keystone Pipeline Kill – WSJ
President Biden issued a blizzard of executive orders on his first day in office, including a diktat to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. This is a slap at Canada, and it sends a message to investors that playing by U.S. rules provides no immunity from arbitrary political whim.
TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) has been stuck in the quicksand of American politics for more than a decade. A 2004 executive order requires the State Department to approve cross-border projects. In 2008 TC applied for a permit to transport up to 830,000 barrels of crude per day from the Alberta oil sands to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast.
The Obama State Department found five separate times that the pipeline would have no material impact on greenhouse gas emissions since crude would still be extracted. Shipping bitumen by rail or tanker would result in 28% to 42% higher CO2 emissions and more leaks. No matter. President Obama in 2015 rejected the permit as an oblation to the Paris Climate accords.
President Trump gave the right of way, but legal challenges by anti-fossil fuel groups marooned the pipeline and ran out the clock on the Trump years. Now Mr. Biden is yanking Keystone’s permit and rejoining the Paris agreement. Neither action will matter to the climate.
Since 2000 the U.S. has led the world in energy-related emissions reductions as natural gas from shale hydraulic fracturing has replaced coal in power production. China’s Paris commitment doesn’t require it to cut emissions for another decade. Russia’s are set to rise for years. Last November Russian oil giant Rosneft launched a massive exploration project in the Arctic. “Mineral resources will remain a competitive advantage of Russia’s economy, and will determine the place and role of the country in the world,” Russia’s strategic mineral plan says.