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Manchin to visit Alberta oilsands in effort to revive Keystone XL Pipeline

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin will be heading to the province on Monday and Tuesday to visit oilsands operations.

Keystone XL may be dead, but the fight over Canadian oil is alive and well
Oil sands, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Image - eryn.rickard (CC BY 2.0)
Oil sands, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Image - eryn.rickard (CC BY 2.0)

A key Democratic senator will tour Canada’s oil sands next week to pressure U.S. President Joe Biden to revive a critical pipeline project he scrapped on his first day in office.

And according to the Calgary Herald, he is also expected to attend a North American energy roundtable meeting in Calgary with leaders of some of the country’s largest petroleum producers and pipeline operators.

Senator Joe Manchin is among the most conservative Democrats in the Senate and has opposed key policy proposals favored by Democrats, including President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Bill.

The senator made headlines late last year with his opposition to the president’s Build Back Better bill, dealing a big blow to the legislative agenda of the White House in December, reports CBC Canada.

Manchin’s opposition to the bill received great praise from the Canadian automotive industry, who said the bill contained an electric vehicle tax provision that Canada’s automotive industry claims would threaten jobs.

Official portrait of Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Source – Rebecca Hammel, Public Domain

He has financial ties to the coal industry and receives regular donations from fossil fuel executives, including Ryan Lance of ConocoPhillips and Vicki Hollub of Occidental, according to CNBC News,

Manchin has also played on the fears around inflation and high energy costs brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and more recently, the Russian in=vasion of Ukraine. This line of reasoning has led Manchin to reiterate his call to Biden to revive the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Manchin to visit Fort McMurray

The senator plans to visit two sites in Fort McMurray, Alta., and discuss “North American energy security and how Alberta can provide more of the U.S.’ energy needs,” according to CTV News Canada.

Manchin’s office tells CTV News they “will have a full release following Senator Manchin’s visit, but not before.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney confirmed the upcoming trip, adding Manchin also invited him to appear before the Senate Energy Committee.

“If we saw a signal from Washington about a willingness to build another major pipeline, the energy companies would respond by investing and expanding their current production,” Kenney said.

Andrew Sheer meets with Jason Kenney the Premier of Alberta on May 2, 2019. Source -Andre Forget – Andrew Sheer. Public Domain

But, the light of good fortune is not shining brightly for the Premier of Alberta, according to The Star. His position as leader of the United Conservative Party – and therefore his Alberta premiership – is on the line as the party begins the long, drawn-out process of a leadership vote.

And Joe Manchin is in hot water in his own state of West Virginia. The West Virginia Rising coalition intends to hold a non-violent protest at the Grant Town Coal Waste Power Plant on Saturday, dubbing it “The Coal Baron Blockade”.

“Manchin is a part of the system that has never served any West Virginians,” Blake Thomas, a West Virginian and member of the environmental coalition, told The Independent. “It can’t go on. This is us fighting back.”

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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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