Joe Biden has criticized Canadian “tarsands” oil, doubling down on his promise to scrap the Keystone XL pipeline if he’s elected U.S. president in November.
The presumptive Democratic nominee made clear in an interview with CNBC that a statement from his campaign earlier this week reflects his position: He wants the pipeline stopped.
“I’ve been against Keystone from the beginning. It is tarsands that we don’t need — that in fact is very, very high pollutant,” Biden said Friday.
When pressed by an interviewer about the damage this pledge might do to the oil industry, Biden replied that he doesn’t want to shut down all projects immediately.
He brushed off, however, the importance of the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline to the U.S. industry.
“We’re gonna transition gradually to get to a clean economy,” Biden said.
“But the idea of shutting down Keystone, as if that is the thing that keeps the oil industry moving, is just not rational. It does not economically, nor, in my view, environmentally, make any sense.”
Criticism from Alberta
His remarks reaffirmed a statement released by his campaign earlier this week.
Biden’s promise to cancel the pipeline has caused some consternation across the border. In Alberta, taxpayers are investing $1.5 billion in the pipeline project.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney this week said Biden would have a hard time explaining to Americans why he’d kill a part-finished project.
Construction recently began on the long-delayed project, which would carry oilsands crude into a system connected to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.
The pipeline’s backers hope it might alleviate bottlenecks that have often plagued Alberta’s land-locked oil, and eventually carry roughly one-fifth of all the oil Canada exports to the U.S.
The pipeline debate was a major issue in U.S. politics several years ago. After years of delay, then-president Barack Obama cancelled a critical permit in 2015, a move President Donald Trump reversed in 2017. Construction has barely just begun.
Even so, Biden’s remarks this week have generated minor media attention in the U.S.
In Canada, Conservatives have urged the Trudeau Liberals to use their well-documented connections to Biden’s inner circle to change the candidate’s mind.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the Liberal government should be lobbying their “friends in the Democratic party” on Keystone XL.
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