Energy & Environment

Manchin floats ‘rebranded’ Keystone XL pipeline in visit to Canada

Swing vote Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) floated the idea of a “rebranded” or “rerouted” Keystone XL pipeline during a visit to Canada on Tuesday. 

“The brand of the XL pipeline is probably gone,” Manchin told reporters when asked about the chances of a revival of the never-completed vessel. “Can it be rebranded, can it be rerouted, can it be these different things?”

He added that it’s not clear whether the Biden administration “is going to entertain that” but added that “they’d be foolish not to.”

During his first day in office, President Biden killed a key border-crossing permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported Canadian tar sands oil to the U.S. 

In the years prior, the vessel had become a flashpoint in the environmental movement, as advocates raised concerns about the carbon intensity of the tar sands oil it would deliver, as well as tribal opposition. 

Proponents, meanwhile, have invoked energy security and construction jobs. 

Manchin’s  latest comments also follow a Wall Street Journal report which said that the administration was looking for ways to import more Canadian oil after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drove up fuel prices. 

Republicans, meanwhile, have ramped up their criticisms of the Keystone decision in recent weeks amid the high prices, even though the pipeline was only about 8 percent completed upon its cancellation last year.

The company behind the pipeline, TC Energy, said in 2020 that the vessel would not have delivered oil until 2023.

In the meantime, the U.S. has continued to import a significant amount of Canadian oil — which makes up more than half of the country’s oil imports. 

Asked for comment, a White House spokesperson said that the U.S. is engaging with various oil producing countries to address the current supply imbalance, but also noted that the Keystone pipeline would not have added to current supply. 

Manchin, in his trip to Alberta, also touted an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.

“My definition of all of the above is every that we possibly can, so if you’re looking at wind and solar, geothermal, you’re looking at hydro, you’re looking at fusion in the future, you’re looking at everything that we possibly can do to reduce our carbon — nuclear.”

 Last year, Manchin, a key swing vote in the evenly split Senate, dealt a major blow to Biden’s climate and social spending agenda when he said he didn’t support the Build Back Better bill. However, in recent weeks, there have been reports of a potential restart to negotiations on a spending measure.

Tags Biden Joe Biden Joe Manchin Keystone XL pipeline oil imports

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