Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is committed to blocking the Keystone XL pipeline if he's elected president of the United States, his campaign policy director confirmed Monday.

"When Biden takes office, we will have nine years left to stop the worst consequences of climate change, and Biden won’t waste a single day," said Stef Feldman in a statement shared with BNN Bloomberg.

"Biden strongly opposed the Keystone pipeline in the last administration, stood alongside President [Barack] Obama and Secretary [of State John] Kerry to reject it in 2015, and will proudly stand in the Roosevelt Room again as president and stop it for good by rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline permit."

The sharp tone from the Biden campaign stands in stark contrast to U.S. President Donald Trump's stance on Keystone XL. One of Trump's first actions after taking office in 2017 was to clear the way for the pipeline that had been rejected by the Obama administration.

At the end of March, and almost 12 years since Keystone XL was first proposed, TC Energy Corp. announced that it intended to go ahead with construction of the pipeline after the Calgary-based company lined up a $1.5-billion investment and a backstop from the Alberta government.

Keystone XL is seen as crucial to the oil sands' fortunes, with its potential to carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta to Nebraska, where it would then be destined for the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage said her government is disappointed by the comments from Biden’s camp, but said the province is still confident in Keystone XL’s future.

“Rather than speculating about the outcome of the U.S. election, we will spend our time continuing to meet with our U.S. allies and speak to Alberta’s role in supporting North American energy independence and security,” Savage said in her statement. 

Meanwhile, TC Energy spokesperson Terry Cunha said in a statement Keystone XL has faced unprecedented scrutiny and “every study has squarely concluded it can be built safely and in an environmentally sound manner.”

Trump has repeatedly sought to kick-start the project, signing an executive order in the earliest days of his presidency that was thwarted by a federal judge in Montana who concluded the State Department had not adequately assessed the potential environmental impact of the project.

The president signed a fresh permit in March that not only cleared the way for construction, but also appeared designed to prevent further legal problems with State Department permits. But again, a Montana court halted the project on the grounds that the impact on endangered species in the state hadn't been properly assessed.

In the meantime, Keystone XL has come to define the widening fissure between an energy industry that's straining to redefine its mission in the 21st century and growing public opposition to North America's dependency on fossil fuels - a tension that has created deep-seated political challenges in Canada, where the oil patch is central to the country's economic fortunes.

“Rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline is the touchstone of any meaningful plan to address the climate crisis,” said Tamara Toles O'Laughlin, the North American director of 350 Action, the political wing of climate-justice group

“Tribal nations, farmers and ranchers, and many other communities who have resisted Keystone XL for more than a decade know this pipeline would derail all plans for climate survival and adaptation.”

Earlier this month, TC Energy said crews were working ahead of schedule, staging pipe and building work camps while studying ways to continue construction even if the ruling blocks U.S. river crossings along the 1,930-kilometre route from Alberta to Nebraska.

With files from The Canadian Press