TC Energy, the company that was trying to build the Keystone XL pipeline, has filed a NAFTA complaint that seeks $15 billion in damages from the U.S. government.
In its claim, TC Energy accuses the United States of breaching free trade obligations under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement when newly elected President Joe Biden summarily pulled the plug on Keystone’s border crossing permit.
Biden was following through on a campaign promise he had made to cancel U.S. authorization for the pipeline, which was to carry up to 830 barrels of crude oil from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast, as well as potentially up to 100,000 barrels per day of crude oil from the Bakken.
TC Energy announced in June that it would cancel the 1,897-mile pipeline in light of Biden’s cancellation, warning it would lead to the laying off thousands of union workers. It also leaves Alberta taxpayers on the hook for $1.3 billion in loans, as well as billions more in loan guarantees for the project, which had already been under construction for several months on both the Canada and U.S. side.
Keystone XL has been a lightning rod for environmentalists over the last decade or so, who criticize the pipeline from the standpoint of climate change.
Advocates for the pipeline, meanwhile, have said that oil Keystone would have carried will still get taken to market, but it will travel via truck or rail, either of which will cause more emissions than moving oil by pipeline.
The pipeline project was important to the Bakken mainly due to the possibility of adding an on-ramp at Baker, Montana, which would give Bakken crude oil yet another large-scale option to get to efficiently get taken to market.
The pipeline also would have generated tens of millions in taxes in each of the states it traveled through, as well as providing thousands of short-term construction jobs and ultimately some long-term jobs related to operations.
Studies undertaken by the Obama administration had estimated the pipeline would generate 42,100 jobs with $2 billion in associated earnings throughout the U.S. That figure included 3,700 construction jobs earning about $127 million collectively.
Montana and Texas, meanwhile are pursuing a lawsuit against Biden’s cancellation of Keystone XL. Florida and Alaska recently joined the suit, bringing the total number of states involved to 23, and the Saskatchewan government said it will file an amicus brief inn support.
“The fallout from the Colonial pipeline cyberattack made it very clear that we need more energy infrastructure, not less. The Keystone XL would get more oil – including Montana oil – to American refineries to be sold to American consumers,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “The Constitution is clear that presidents do not have the power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce or to unilaterally undo an act of Congress. We will continue to fight to this federal overreach – along with the 22 other states – so that Montanans can benefit from the jobs, tax revenue, and enhanced energy independence the Keystone XL will bring to our communities.”