OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada is pressing people at the highest levels of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration to reconsider canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.
“We’ve had a clear and consistent position supporting this project for years,” Trudeau told reporters. “Our government is making sure that Canada’s views are heard and considered by the incoming administration at the highest levels.”
They are Trudeau’s first comments since Reuters reported on Sunday that Biden would scrap the $8 billion pipeline permit as one of his first acts in office over concerns about fossil fuels contributing to climate change.
Keystone XL is owned by Canada’s TC Energy Corp.
Scuttling the project would threaten Canadian jobs and undermine the U.S.-Canadian relationship as Trudeau tries to turn the page on the Donald Trump era, but it was one of Biden’s campaign promises.
“We understand of course that it is a commitment the candidate Joe Biden made to cancel this pipeline,” Trudeau said, adding he aimed to speak to the new president in “coming days” about Keystone XL and other issues.
“I have confidence that we will be heard and that our arguments will be considered in this process,” Trudeau said, adding he was underscoring the need for energy security and the potential jobs at stake.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney threatened legal action on Monday if the project is scrapped. Trudeau declined to comment on whether he would support legal action, but said he planned to speak with Kenney later on Tuesday.
Reporting by Steve Scherer and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Matthew Lewis