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Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Last Updated Jan 19, 2021 at 10:39 am PDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada will continue to fight to convince Joe Biden's upcoming administration of the merits of the Keystone XL expansion

Justin Trudeau says he's been very clear about his support for the Keystone XL pipeline expansion

Biden promised during last year's election campaign that he would rescind Trump's approval of the expansion project

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will continue to fight to convince president-elect Joe Biden’s administration of the merits of the Keystone XL pipeline expansion.

“I have been very clear over the past seven years that I support the Keystone XL project,” he said Tuesday. “We have made that case, including in front of a room filled with democrats seven years ago in Washington, D.C. before I became prime minister.”

He added the project, which aims to send an added 800,000 barrels a day of Alberta oilsands bitumen to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, has evolved since then.

“Over the past number of days, and continuing today, we are communicating our arguments in favour of Keystone XL directly to the highest levels of this administration,” Trudeau told reporters. “And we will continue to work closely with them on this and many other initiatives to protect jobs and grow the economy in ways that also fight climate change.”

Trudeau said Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s envoy to the U.S., is pressing Ottawa’s case with what he calls the “highest levels” of the Biden team.

Biden promised during last year’s election campaign that he would rescind President Donald Trump’s approvals for the US $8-billion cross-border expansion.

Transition documents reviewed by The Canadian Press suggest an executive order on that score could come as early as Wednesday, Biden’s first day in the White House.

Related video: Documents say Keystone XL pipeline will be cancelled

Environmental groups briefed on the incoming administration’s plan say they have been told it would come on Day 1.

Advocates for the project, however, are clinging to hope that the ensuing outcry will prompt the Biden team to give them a chance to change the president-elect’s mind.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is among those fighting for the project to continue. He has said his province has a strong legal basis for seeking damages if the expansion is killed.

Alberta invested $1.5 billion in the project last year.

Kenney has said he’s deeply concerned over Biden’s intention, adding the U.S. owes Canada the respect of sitting down to discuss the issue.

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So too has Canada’s approach to climate change more broadly, he added.

“Canada has, in the intervening few years, become a global leader in the fight against climate change and moving forward in transforming our economy in important ways towards reducing emissions,” Trudeau said.

“I trust that we will be heard, that our arguments will be considered.”