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The developer of the Keystone oil pipeline is set to announce a number of environmentally-friendly changes to the project in hopes of winning President-elect Joe Biden’s endorsement as he looks to issue an executive order canceling the project as early as this week, according to new reports.
Biden’s aides have previously said he plans on rescinding the project’s permit and a CBC News report on Sunday said the Democrat will revoke the permit in one of his first actions after taking office this week.
Looking to save the $8 billion project, Canada’s TC Energy has pledged to use only renewable energy, promising to spend $1.7 billion on solar, wind, and battery power to run the unfinished 2,000-mile pipeline system between Alberta, Canada and Texas, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The company has also vowed to hire a union workforce and eliminate all greenhouse-gas emissions from operations by 2030. It has promised to acquire renewable power for the entire network, though that may take until 2030 to finish. In the meantime, the company plans to buy credits funding emissions-reduction projects to offset its emissions.
“In our view, this is the most sustainable and environmentally friendly pipeline project that is ever been built,” Richard Prior, president of TC Energy’s Keystone XL expansion project, told the Journal. “This is groundbreaking stuff for an energy infrastructure project of the size and scale of Keystone XL.”
Construction on the Keystone XL pipeline, a 1,210-mile expansion to a larger pipeline network, finally began last year under a permit President Trump granted to bypass a federal judge’s order blocking construction in the U.S., pending a supplemental environmental review.
The company reached a deal with four labor unions in August to build the line. In November it reached an agreement with five indigenous tribes that says the tribes will take a roughly $785 million ownership stake.
A new deal led by North America’s Building Trades Unions gives priority to union workers for the project.
Biden has sided with progressive Democrats in calling for a move away from oil in light of climate change concerns. Meanwhile, Canadian government officials, who want to get more bottlenecked Canadian crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast, have continued to advocate for the project with the president-elect’s team.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cited the pipeline as one of his top priorities in his first post-election call with Biden.
“Not only has the project itself changed significantly since it was first proposed, but Canada’s oil sands production has also changed significantly,” Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., Kirsten Hillman, said in a statement. She said Canadian oil emissions per barrel have dropped by almost a third since 2000. “Innovation will continue to drive progress.”