Construction on the Keystone XL pipeline began in Oyen, Alberta on Friday.

Premier Jason Kenney visited the site for its ceremonial opening, emphasizing the province’s reliance on the energy industry. 

“When complete, this project will be a major part of our energy sector’s continuing success, and a pillar of Alberta and Canada’s economic recovery, post-COVID,” said Kenney. 

“So make no mistake, the energy industry is the lifeblood of our provincial and our national economies.”

Upon completion, the pipeline will carry 830,000 barrels of oil per day 1,947 km away to Steele City, Nebraska. 

According to Kenney, Albertans will benefit from about 2,000 construction jobs due to the project which is expected to be completed in the year 2023.

The Kenney government has promised a $1.5 billion investment into the project for this year, with the hopes that it will boost Alberta’s economy after it took a severe downturn during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Permits for the project were approved by US President Donald Trump, however Democratic opponent and presidential candidate Joe Biden has promised to put a halt on the development if he is elected. 

“Biden strongly opposed the Keystone pipeline in the last administration, stood alongside President Obama and Secretary [John] Kerry to reject it in 2015, and will proudly stand in the Roosevelt Room again as President and stop it for good by rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline permit. Stopping Keystone was the right decision then and it’s still the right decision now,” said a statement by Biden’s policy director Stef Feldman.

In response to Biden’s election promise, the chairman of the Business Council of Alberta Hal Kvisle announced in May that the US government could expect a multibillion-dollar lawsuit should the project be cancelled. 

 “This is all grandstanding and it doesn’t look good on the politicians,” said Kvisle. 

“TC would have a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against the U.S. government if they kill the project that’s already been approved.”

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