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'We are here': Premier marks start of construction for Alberta leg of Keystone XL

Last Updated Jul 3, 2020 at 12:53 pm MDT

Pipes intended for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline are shown in Gascoyne, N.D. on Wednesday April 22, 2015. A financial analyst says Alberta government backing means TC Energy Corp. will be more likely to continue construction of the Keystone XL pipeline this summer despite Joe Biden's vow to kill it if he is elected president in November. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta

OYEN (660 NEWS) – After more than a decade of environmental reviews and collaborating with landowners, construction on the Alberta leg of the Keystone XL pipeline has begun.

Premier Jason Kenney helped mark the milestone Friday while at a TC Energy pipe yard near the town of Oyen.

“We are here, at long last, kicking off construction of the Alberta spread of the Keystone XL pipeline project. We’re finally getting it done.”

The nearly 2,000-kilometre pipeline will deliver at least 830,000 barrels per day of western Canadian crude oil from Hardisty, AB to Steele City, Nebraska where it will connect with existing facilities to reach U.S. Gulf Coast refiners.

The project is expected to create about 2,000 construction jobs in Alberta over the next two years and contribute over $2 billion to Canada’s GDP.

Despite the good news proclaimed by Kenney, many are concerned over U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden’s remarks he would axe the pipeline if elected.

“It would be a terrible blow to this important strategic friendship, this trading friendship and this alliance, for any U.S. administration to cancel a project in which billions of dollars have already been invested. I think we have a pretty strong case to make.”

Kenney said he will look to the federal government and U.S. stakeholders to make that message clear to Biden.

The pipeline was voted down by former President Barack Obama, and approved by the current administration under President Donald Trump.

Last month, the provincial government said it was investing $1.5 billion to Keystone XL as part of a $10 billion dollar infrastructure plan announced with Alberta’s Recovery strategy.

“We greatly appreciate Premier Kenney’s partnership in this important investment and we look forward to working with his government as we continue to invest in and strengthen Alberta’s economy,” said President of Keystone XL, Richard Prior.

“We also strongly value the ongoing collaboration and support from First Nations, building trades unions, landowners, and our contractors and suppliers over the last dozen years.”

The Alberta leg of the pipeline project is expected to be complete and operational by 2023.