PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Energy Experts React to Biden Canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline

Published January 20, 2021

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL (January 20, 2021) – Joe Biden has pledged that one of his first acts as president will be to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline is designed to carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada to the United States for refining. After years of delays, it was approved under the Trump administration and more than 100 miles of the pipeline are already built, but the project is not yet complete.

The following statements from energy policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.


“Joe Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline will destroy jobs in America, destroy jobs in Canada, create jobs in hostile foreign nations, have no impact on carbon dioxide emissions, and create political tension with Canada.

“Canceling Keystone XL will not reduce American oil use – and that’s a good thing. To the extent Biden is successful in reducing American utilization of fossil fuels, it will force us to become dependent on Chinese rare earth minerals and Chinese wind and solar equipment. That would be a very dangerous development for American energy security.

“Just as importantly, Biden’s preferred wind and solar power impose their own substantial unique environmental harms. A peer-reviewed study recently published by Harvard University scientists concludes that replacing conventional electricity with wind power would require covering one-third of the American landmass with wind turbines. Requiring electrified vehicles would require covering fully half of the American landmass with wind turbines. Either option would require the unprecedented destruction of wildlife and wildlife habitat on a horrendous scale. That would also be far worse for the environment than any plausible global warming scenarios.

“In short, Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline is a terrible development for the American economy, American energy security, American national security, the American environment, and the global environment.”

James Taylor
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]


“Joe Biden should follow the science on Keystone, which says it is safe and won’t contribute to climate change. The Obama administration’s State Department twice issued comprehensive findings that the Keystone XL pipeline could be developed safely, was in the national interest, and would have no impact on greenhouse gas emissions or climate change. The State Department and outside analyses also showed, during construction and the life of its operations, the Keystone XL pipeline would create tens of thousands of jobs and reduce U.S. energy costs.

“The Keystone XL pipeline is in America’s geopolitical, economic, and environmental interests. As such, Biden should reconsider his stance and support its completion.”

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News
[email protected]

“With the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, President Biden puts America at risk in several ways. First, it diminishes our energy security. Second, it reduces commerce, jobs, and industry. Third, it puts American towns and cities on the railroad system at greater risk because Alberta and Bakken shale crude oil will be shipped by rail instead of by pipeline.

“It has already been demonstrated in July 2013 in Lac Megantic, Quebec what a tanker-train derailment can do to a town: 72 oil tanker cars, destined for refineries, derailed, caught fire, exploded, and decimated the town. Another tanker-train derailment and fire in North Dakota in late 2013 drove the point home. Record volumes of oil are moving by rail and pipeline capacity has failed to keep up with demand. With this decision, Biden puts America at risk not just economically, but at risk for life and limb.”

Anthony Watts
Senior Fellow
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1984 and headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our website or call 312/377-4000.