While President Biden has advertised job creation as a prominent goal moving into the later stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, 14 Republican attorneys general from across the country are sounding the alarm on his administration’s abrupt cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and West Virginia penned a joint letter urging Biden to reevaluate his position.
“Your decision will result in devastating damage to many of our states and local communities,” the attorneys wrote. “Even those states outside the path of the Keystone XL pipeline—indeed all Americans—will suffer serious, detrimental consequences.”
“Nowhere, however, do you explain how killing the Keystone XL pipeline project directly advances the goals of ‘protect[ing] Americans and the domestic economy from harmful climate impacts.’ Nor does your decision actually cure any of the climate ills you reference. Observers are thus left with only one reasonable supposition: it is a symbolic act of virtue signaling to special interests and the international community,” the joint letter said.”
The scathing letter pertains to Biden’s Jan. 20 executive order within hours of assuming office to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, which President Trump re-authorized for construction in Jan. 2017.
Operated by TC Energy, the project aimed to deliver 830,000 crude oil barrels per day from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska. It is estimated to inject $8 billion into the North American economy as a whole and create over 13,000 jobs, some of which are unionized. It was also a key national security move, as it created U.S. energy independence from foreign antagonists such as Russia, China, and Middle Eastern oil tyrannies.
“In Montana, for instance,” Knudsen writes, “killing Keystone XL will likely cost the state approximately $58 million in annual tax revenue. Montana will lose the benefits of future easements and leases, and several local counties will lose their single-biggest property taxpayer. The loss of Keystone XL’s economic activity and tax revenues are especially devastating as five of the six impacted counties are designated high-poverty areas.”
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) President Richard Trumka also voiced his concern with Biden’s halting of the construction project on “Axios on HBO.” “I wish [Biden] hadn’t done that on the first day,” he said.
Biden also notably instituted a freeze on new gas and oil drilling permits on Jan. 20, which Morgan Stanley research estimated comprises 25 percent of all U.S. oil production, or 2.7 million barrels a day. Sen. Joe Manchin D-W.Va., who in 2012 first introduced the Keystone XL Bill, wrote to President Biden in opposition to his decision. The “pipelines,” he wrote, “continue to be the safest mode to transport our oil and natural gas resources and they support thousands of high-paying, American union jobs.”
While Biden purports to be the president for the American worker, his suspension of the Keystone XL Pipeline only shows the non-scientific, environmental religiosity he supports. Biden similarly rejoined the Paris Climate Accords—which The Heritage Foundation estimated in a report will wipe clean 400,000 jobs by 2035, as well as a total GDP loss of over $2.5 trillion.
“Please be aware that the states are reviewing available legal options to protect our residents and sovereign interests. In the meantime, we urge you to reconsider your decision to impose crippling economic injuries on states, communities, families, and workers across the country,” the letter by the state attorneys general concluded.