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Biden’s Keystone XL Cutoff Shocks Town Where Population Doubled

Oyen, on the Canadian prairie, braces for an end to pipeline construction.

The arrival of pipeline construction crews last year buoyed business for restaurants in Oyen, Alberta. 

The arrival of pipeline construction crews last year buoyed business for restaurants in Oyen, Alberta. 

Photographer: Ian Willms for Bloomberg Businessweek

On the snowy prairies of western Canada, a tiny town is grappling with the fallout from the 12-year saga of the world’s most controversial oil pipeline. 

On his first day as U.S. president, Joe Biden signed an executive order rescinding TC Energy Corp.’s permission to build the $8 billion Keystone XL. The 1,210-mile pipeline was designed to carry more than 800,000 barrels a day of Canadian oil sands crude to refineries in the U.S. when it entered service in 2023. It was also supposed to create some 13,000 union jobs. Biden’s decision may have fallen hardest on the eastern Alberta farming town of Oyen, where work on the project was already under way and local businesses were reaping the rewards.