The Alberta government has scrapped plans to build a new oil pipeline between the oilsands and the rest of the country, a decision that has sparked protests and raised questions about the long-term viability of the controversial project.
The decision was announced Friday as the government announced that the Keystone XL project would not proceed.
It was also the final decision of the Alberta and Saskatchewan governments to reject the project.
But the decision to cancel the $5.6-billion project has prompted protests across the country and raised concerns that Alberta’s oil sands have been abandoned, especially after a recent drop in prices.
The government said the pipeline would run through land that was already owned by the federal government and had been leased to Alberta since 1996.
The move is expected to cost the province $1.5 billion.
It also means Alberta would no longer be able to sell oil and gas to countries such as the U.S. and Russia, which have expressed concern about its potential impact on climate change.
“Alberta is committed to providing a safe and reliable energy future to all Albertans and we will continue to work with the federal and provincial governments to develop the most efficient and environmentally sound ways to do that,” Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said in a statement.
Phillips said the government will also review how to mitigate the impact of climate change and protect endangered species.
She said the process will include consultations with Indigenous communities and First Nations communities.
The announcement comes amid an international debate over whether the Alberta oil sands should be developed.
In May, the U, Australia and China announced that they would not approve a new pipeline for the oilsand project.
Phillipp said the decision “is not intended to harm Alberta’s economy,” and it was in the best interests of Alberta to pursue other projects.
She also said the project would provide significant economic benefits to the province.
“We’ve seen the cost of this project come down, we’ve seen all of the environmental benefits come out,” she said.