Story at a glance

  • The Keystone XL pipeline was cancelled by its primary sponsor on Wednesday.
  • President Biden recently halted construction on the pipeline following environmental concerns.
  • Indigenous activists were a major opponent of the pipeline, which would have run through their ancestral lands.

The controversial and embattled Keystone XL pipeline, a major tar sands tunnel stretching from Calgary in Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska, has officially been cancelled and will no longer be under construction. 

Canadian energy company TC Energy, who helped spearhead the project, confirmed the cancellation on Wednesday. 

In its statement, the company cites concerns over Indigenous land rights as one of the reasons behind the cancellation. The pipeline was set to run through ancestral tribal land and threaten nearby water supplies, opponents said.

“We value the strong relationships we’ve built through the development of this Project and the experience we’ve gained,” TC Energy President and Chief Executive Officer François Poirier said in the statement. 

“Through the process, we developed meaningful Indigenous equity opportunities and a first-of-its-kind, industry leading plan to operate the pipeline with net-zero emissions throughout its lifecycle,” he continued. “We will continue to identify opportunities to apply this level of ingenuity across our business going forward, including our current evaluation of the potential to power existing U.S. assets with renewable energy.”

Construction on the pipeline was slated to take place during the pandemic back in late March 2020. It was estimated to harvest roughly 830,000 barrels of crude oil, spanning about 1,200 miles. It was expected to be operational by 2023.

Prior to this, the Keystone XL pipeline was a key campaign promise for Democrats looking to put a dent in construction that would disrupt the environment and emit more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. 

President Biden had blocked the construction permit for the pipeline earlier this year, pending an environmental impact report. His predecessor, former President Donald Trump, initially worked to bring the project back to life after more delays during the Obama presidency. 

Indigenous advocacy groups rejoiced in the decision, with the Indigenous Environmental Network issuing a tweet saying “We are dancing in our hearts for this victory!”

Published on Jun 09, 2021