Ghost of Keystone XL haunts US as drivers feel pain at the pump

As North Americans continue to feel pain at the pump from surging gasoline prices, the issue of energy security and how to bring down the rising cost of living is front and center for government officials in Canada and the US

However, for the Biden administration, the decision to quash the Keystone XL pipeline project continues to be a key talking point more than a year after the US President effectively killed the project.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland confirmed in a joint press conference with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Monday that she brought up the cancellation of Keystone XL once again with her American counterpart.

“The Canadian position on Keystone is unchanged. It’s something we bring up whenever we have these meetings, and I did today,” Freeland said.

The two high-ranking government officials met in Toronto to discuss how they could tackle runaway inflation through more resilient supply chains, including on the energy front.

Yellen said a revival of the Keystone XL project would be up to US President Joe Biden to consider, but said even if it was restarted, it wouldn’t be much help to the current record-high gas prices drivers are grappling with.

“Even if it were allowed, would take years to come into completion. So I don’t see it as a short-term measure to address the current situation. And longer term, we remain committed to our climate change objectives,” Yellen said.

As part of one of his first major decisions in office, President Biden revoked a key permit for Keystone XL, which would have drastically increased the flow of crude from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

While Freeland raised the oil pipeline project with Yellen, she also touted the federal government’s fight against climate change as being a top priority, and how Canada needs to walk the line between the two seemingly-conflicting concerns.

“We are very like-minded with this US administration when it comes to the need to walk and chew gum on energy right now,” she said.

“Obviously, we need to focus on the short-term energy needs of North America, of the fact that Canadians and Americans are feeling real pain at the pumps, and also the real challenges when it comes to energy security that our European partners are facing .”

“Canada — as an energy producer — we take our responsibility to our allies really seriously. And so we are working hard to increase production,” she added.

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