BREAKING | Reaction swift after Biden cancels Keystone XL permit

Newly inaugurated U.S. President Joe Biden carried out his campaign promise to tear up the presidential permit keeping the Keystone XL expansion alive on Wednesday, hours after the pipeline owner said it would halt work on the project.

Calgary-based TC Energy Corp. said Biden's action would overturn extensive regulatory reviews that found the pipeline would transport needed energy in an environmentally responsible way and bolster North American energy security.

It also warned the move will lead to the layoffs of thousands of union workers and comes despite its commitments to use renewable energy to power the pipeline and forge equity partnerships with Indigenous communities.

The company remains committed to growing earnings and dividends through its investments in critical energy infrastructure even without Keystone XL, said Francois Poirier, who took over as TC Energy CEO at the beginning of the year.

Meanwhile, environmental groups applauded Biden's move.

``Killing the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all is a clear indication that climate action is a priority for the White House,'' said Dale Marshall, national climate program manager for Canada's Environmental Defence.``We should take heed when the biggest customer for Canada's oil kills a pipeline that is already under construction. The Keystone XL pipeline never made sense for either the U.S. or Canada.''

In contrast, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said it's ``incredibly troubling'' that TC Energy has suspended work on Keystone XL.

``Now is the time for our nations to strengthen our trading relationship, not erect further barriers to collaborative and sustainable development,'' he said in a statement.

The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada said in a news release it is disappointed that Biden is ``putting politics before reason.''

``Pulling the plug on a major project, hours after taking office, is a rocky starting point for re-setting Canada/U.S. relations,'' said PCAC president Paul de Jong.

The association, whose member companies employ thousands of Alberta and B.C. construction workers, said the pipeline would have generated as many as 60,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada and the United States.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he will continue to press Biden to allow Keystone XL to proceed.

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole called the cancellation of the permit ``devastating.''