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The Keystone XL pipeline is officially dead

The developer of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline abandoned the project Wednesday after a decade-plus effort.

Why it matters: TC Energy's decision ends one of the century's highest profile battles over climate change and energy. But the move is unsurprising.


  • President Biden canceled a cross-border permit in January, prompting TC Energy to suspend construction on the project that would bring hundreds of thousands of barrels per day from Alberta, Canada, to U.S. markets.
  • In addition to strong public and legal opposition from activists, market forces including the U.S. domestic production boom helped sap the project's momentum.

What they're saying: "This project is finally being abandoned thanks to more than a decade of resistance from Indigenous communities, landowners, farmers, ranchers, and climate activists along its route and around the world," said David Turnbull of Oil Change International in a statement.

Yes, but via Reuters: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said: “We remain disappointed and frustrated with the circumstances surrounding the Keystone XL project, including the cancellation of the presidential permit for the pipeline’s border crossing,”

  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also supported the project.

Catch up quick: TC Energy, then called TransCanada, first proposed the 1,200 mile pipeline well over a decade ago, but resistance mounted throughout the Obama administration.

  • President Obama rejected it in late 2015, claiming approval would undercut U.S. leadership on climate change (among other reasons).

The decision came despite a State Department finding that approving or denying the project would not have a major effect on emissions because it was unlikely to affect the rate of oil sands extraction.

President Trump revived the project in 2017, but it still faced legal battles.

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