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Alberta considering legal action, demanding compensation for Keystone XL: Kenney

Last Updated Feb 4, 2021 at 10:20 am MDT

In this April 13, 2020, photo provided by TC Energy, construction contractors for TC Energy are seen installing a section of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline at the U.S.-Canada border north of Glasgow, Mont. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris has struck down a nationwide permitting program for new oil and gas pipelines in a lawsuit against the controversial Keystone XL oil sands pipeline from Canada. (TC Energy via AP)

Keystone XL was originally approved by an executive order by former President Trump in 2017

Premier Kenney says TC Energy is looking at legal action to receive compensation

An energy law expert says the company may have to pay for pipe already installed

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – Alberta is looking for compensation from the United States for its decision to cancel Keystone XL.

During a Facebook Live session, Premier Jason Kenney said the Biden administration is violating NAFTA’s investor protection provision, and Alberta will use every legal tool available to protect its interests.

The problem is that even if TC Energy wins the case, it doesn’t get a new permit and has to go through the entire regulatory process to try and get one.

That’s according to professor and energy law expert Kristen van de Biezenbos from the University of Calgary.

Speaking on a podcast with the C.D. Howe Institute, van Biezenbos was asked about whether or not Alberta has a real chance of winning a legal challenge in this case.


She explains what makes this so confusing is Keystone XL was issued its permit through an executive order from a previous President.

“No other pipeline has received a permit in this manner and so it makes it quite difficult to tell what the chances of success would be. My sense of this is that the chances of success are lower than they normally would be because there’s no regular regulatory process backing up this permit.”

TC Energy filed a $15 billion lawsuit back in 2015, looking to be compensated under NAFTA but dropped it in 2017 when President Donald Trump granted the permit.

Van Biezenbos added the permit granted by Trump can be revoked at any time, and TC Energy has to pay to remove all the laid pipe.

“If they want to go into federal litigation in the United States over Presidential authority, they may be able to get an induction that stops States from demanding that TC Energy remove the pipeline that’s already been built. If they don’t choose to go that route though and they go directly to NAFTA or they tray to file a takings claim in U.S. court, then they probably will have to remove the pipeline that’s already there.”

The Alberta government invested $7.5 billion in the project which included about $6 billion in loan guarantees.

Kenney has said the long-term cost of the pipeline’s cancellations could mean a $30-billion-hit to Alberta’s economy by 2030.