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October 2019 – IMPACT CANADA | THE KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE

IMPACT CANADA

Each month we will focus on projects that will help create more jobs, more profit and more economic and social opportunities for Alberta and the rest of Canada.

FOCUS: THE KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE

The Keystone XL Pipeline (“Pipeline”)  is a 1,204 mile, 36- inch line, that will be designed to transport heavy crude oil from Hardesty, Alberta to Steel City, Nebraska.  The Pipeline would have the capacity to deliver up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil each day to fill the demand on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The Pipeline is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs related to construction, engineering, environmental protection and commercial management. Further, millions from property taxes are expected to be realized across two provinces and three states in the U.S.

The Pipeline approval process has not been easy and there has been material pushback from various stakeholders. However, significant strides and progress is being made towards realization of the project.

Brief timeline of the key events in the Pipeline realization process are outlined below:

2009: TC Energy submits its regulatory application for the Pipeline

March 2010: The National Energy Board approves TC Energy’s application

July 2010: Opposition to the Pipeline begins growing in the U.S. with majority of the focus being directed at environmental concerns

August 26, 2011: The State Department releases its final environmental assessment, which reiterates that the pipeline would have a limited environmental impact

May 4, 2012: International pipelines crossing the international border into the U.S. require a Presidential permit Presidential permit application first submitted for re- consideration  

November 4, 2014: TC Energy estimates the cost of building the Pipeline has increased from $5.4 to $8.0 billion US dollars (approximately $10.85 billion Canadian dollars)

February 24, 2015: President Obama vetoes the bill to have the Pipeline built, after the U.S. Senate approves it

November 6, 2015: Secretary of State Kerry determines that granting the Presidential permit would not serve the U.S. national interest, and denies the application

January 26, 2017: Presidential permit application resubmitted to the Department of State for further consideration, after invitation from President Trump

March 24, 2017: The Presidential permit is received from the U.S. State Department

November 8, 2018: U.S. Federal District Court invalidates the Presidential permit until supplemental environmental studies performed        

March 29, 2019: The new Presidential permit is issued by the Trump administration 2020 Construction to start – Two-year targeted completion date

Currently, the project is still awaiting for the U.S. Department of State to conduct a supplemental analysis of its environmental review of the Pipeline which will be completed in the next few months.

The Pipeline has faced significant opposition from the Indigenous tribes such as  the Blackfoot Confederacy and the Great Sioux Nation, whose leaders signed a declaration against the Pipeline in 2017. While they have not gone the distance that their U.S. counterparts have, their opposition still possess a threat.

It is also important to consider that in Canada, there is a big fight against greenhouse gas emissions and concern for climate obligations. In Alberta, oil sands operations currently emit roughly 70 Megatonnes (Mt) per year. There is currently no upper limit on oil sands emissions in force, but a 100 megatonne annual cap has been considered. The Pipeline project  this cap could seriously challenge the remittance cap.

However, TC Energy and the Pipeline supporters have been resilient. Significant efforts are being made to ensure that there is open dialogue and brainstorming with the different Indigenous tribes. Further, transportation of crude through the Pipeline rather than by rail, barge or truck significantly minimizes the emission output. TC Energy continues to innovate through its programs and initiatives in order to manage greenhouse gas emissions.

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