Sun. Nov 28th, 2021

TC Energy is calling for the NAFTA process to seek ‘lost investment’ in controversial pipeline closed by Joe Biden earlier this year.

The company behind a multi-billion dollar oil pipeline clipped earlier this year by US President Joe Biden’s administration filed a claim under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to recover economic damage caused by the project’s cancellation.

In a statement TC Energy Corporation said late Monday that it had filed an arbitration request under a NAFTA provision that “allows companies to seek compensation for lost investment” with respect to the Keystone XL pipeline.

“We will not comment further and will follow the process as set out,” the company said.

TC Energy said in June it had end the Keystone XL project “after a comprehensive review of its options” and in consultation with its partner, the government of Alberta, an oil-rich province in western Canada.

The move came after the Biden administration in January recall the presidential permit for the project, which drew years of opposition from indigenous communities, environmentalists and landowners along the proposed route, arguing that it would accelerate the climate crisis.

The 1,947 km (1,210 miles) pipeline would have shipped 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to the U.S. state of Nebraska.

Former US President Barack Obama vetoed the project in 2015, saying it was not economically viable for the country, but Donald Trump signed an executive order in 2017 that would allow it to continue. Trump signed another presidential order in 2019 in an effort to speed up construction.

But Biden promised to cancel the project should he win last year’s US election, saying he was “against Keystone” from the start.

The pipeline was a major point of contention between the US and Canada, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government supported its construction. Trudeau expressed “disappointment” this year when Keystone was canceled.

Jason Kenney, the right-wing prime minister of Alberta, a proponent of the pipeline whose government invested $ 1.5 billion ($ 1.1 billion) in the project last year, also Biden encouraged to reconsider his position.

But indigenous lawyers said the cancellation of the project was “justification” after years of efforts.

Matthew Campbell, a staff lawyer at the Native American Rights Fund, who represented indigenous groups in lawsuits against the project, said in January that the step acknowledged “that the trunks will be severely affected by the pipeline and therefore should not be approved”.

Keystone XL is not the only cross-border pipeline project that has caused tension between the US and Canada in recent years.

Last month, the Trudeau government a 1977 treaty appeal with the U.S. to begin bilateral negotiations over Enbridge Inc.’s Line 5 pipeline, which ships 540,000 barrels per day of raw and refined products from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario.

The U.S. state of Michigan has ordered Enbridge – a Calgary, Alberta-based company – to close because of concerns about a leak in a section of Mackinac Street in the Great Lakes.

Enbridge, however, ignored Michigan’s order, and the parties became embroiled in a legal battle, while Ottawa pressured its counterparts in Washington to intervene.

On November 9, the White House said it was not considering closing line 5.

“We expect both the US and Canada to engage constructively in those negotiations,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters, referring to the 1977 treaty talks.

She said those talks should not be seen as an indication that the U.S. government is considering closing the pipeline. “This is something we are not going to do,” Jean-Pierre said.

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