The Biden administration has admitted that the Keystone XL project would have created thousands of jobs and added billions of U.S dollars to the economy.
The administration in a congressionally mandated report, highlighted the positive economic benefits the Keystone XL Pipeline would have had if President Biden didn’t revoke its federal permits.
The report, completed by the Department of Energy (DOE) in late December without any public announcement, stated that the Keystone XL project would have created between 16,149 and 59,468 jobs annually for a two-year period and would have had a positive economic impact of between $3.4-9.6 billion, citing various studies.
The report however estimated that there would be around 50 permanent jobs once the pipeline was operational.
The Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline extension was proposed by TransCanada (now TC Energy) as an 875-mile pipeline project that would extend from the Canadian border at Morgan, Montana, to Steele City, Nebraska.
A previous report from the federal government published in 2014 determined 3,900 direct jobs and 21,050 total jobs would be created during construction which was expected to take two years.
Immediately after taking office in January 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 13990, in which he stated that the KXL project was not in the U.S. national interest as its construction and operation would not be consistent with U.S. climate goals.
While President Biden revoked the Presidential Permit to build the pipeline in January 2021, in June 2021, TC Energy halted construction44 and canceled the KXL project.
The DOE was forced to issue the report after Daines and Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, successfully inserted a bill mandating the report into the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Biden signed into law in November 2021. The agency was required to publish the report within 90 days of the bill’s passage but ultimately waited more than a year before releasing it.
Timeline of the Keystone XL pipeline:
- September 2008: TransCanada applies for a Presidential Permit for the cross-border Keystone XL Pipeline, extending from the Canadian border in Montana, to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The State Department begins EIS.
- August 2011: The State Department publishes Final EIS.17
o A key finding of this EIS is that approval or denial of the KXL pipeline permit would be unlikely to significantly impact Canadian oil sands production or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States.
- Fall 2011: Nebraska officials raise concerns that the route through the state would cross the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills region; TransCanada agrees to change the route, and the State Department determines that additional analysis of the new route will be needed.
- December 2011: Congress directs the President to make a decision on the Presidential Permit within 60 days. The Presidential Permit is denied due to lack of time to complete additional analysis of the Nebraska route.
- Early 2012: TransCanada decides to go ahead with the Cushing MarketLink project, the portion of the original the KXL pipeline that extended from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf Coast, independently of the rest of the KXL pipeline project.
- May 2012: TransCanada requests new Presidential Permit for shortened KXL pipeline.
- January 2014: Cushing MarketLink pipeline begins operations.
- January 2014: The State Department publishes Final Supplemental EIS for the KXL pipeline.
- November 2015: President Obama denies Presidential Permit for the KXL pipeline.
- March 2019: President Trump issues new Presidential Permit for the KXL pipeline.
- 2020: Some construction begins for the KXL pipeline. In-service date was projected for late 2023
- January 2021: President Biden revokes the Presidential Permit for the KXL pipeline.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur