Why in news?

Joe Biden is planning to cancel the permit for the $9bn Keystone XL pipeline project as one of his first acts as president, perhaps as soon as his first day in office, according to a source familiar with his thinking.

Donald Trump had made building the pipeline a central promise of his presidential campaign. Biden, who will be inaugurated on 20th January 2021, was vice-president in the Obama administration when it rejected the project as contrary to its efforts to combat the climate crisis.

Keystone Pipeline System 

The Keystone Pipeline System is an oil pipeline system in Canada and the United States, commissioned in 2010 and owned by TC Energy and the Government of Alberta. It runs from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas, and also to oil tank farms and an oil pipeline distribution center in Cushing, Oklahoma. The pipeline became well known when a planned fourth phase, Keystone XL, attracted opposition from environmentalists, becoming a symbol of the battle over climate change and fossil fuels. In 2015 Keystone XL was temporarily delayed by then-President Barack Obama. On January 24, 2017, President Donald Trump took action intended to permit the pipeline’s completion. On January 17, 2021, it was announced that President-Elect Joe Biden planned to cancel the Keystone XL project during his first days in office.

What is the issue?

Recently a proposed fourth phase of the keystone pipeline system attracted opposition from environmentalists over climate change and fossil fuels. In 2015, President Obama delayed the implementation of the 4th phase of the project. In 2017, President Trump permitted the completion of the pipeline. In 2021, President elect Biden has planned to cancel the project.


  • US President-elect Joe Biden is to cancel the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline on his first day in office, North American media report.
  • The pipeline is projected to carry oil nearly 1,200 miles (1,900km) from the Canadian province of Alberta down to Nebraska, to join an existing pipeline.
  • Environmentalists and Native American groups have fought the project for more than a decade.
  • Work had been halted but restarted in 2019 under President Donald Trump.
  • Mr. Trump overturned a decision by his predecessor, Barack Obama, who vetoed a bill approving construction in 2015.

What is Biden planning to do?

  • A briefing note seen by Canadian and US media says Mr Biden will sign an executive order revoking the permit for Keystone XL on Inauguration Day – 20 January.
  • He will also return the US to the Paris climate agreement – a global pact on cutting carbon emissions – reversing another decision by Mr Trump, who took the US out of the accord on 4 November last year.
  • Mr Biden has pledged to make the fight against climate change a top priority of his administration.

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