A White House desperate to evade blame for record gas prices is now trying to dismiss claims its decision to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline did anything to amplify Americans’ pain at the pump.
“Any action on Keystone wouldn’t actually increase supply, and it would transmit oil years in the future,” National Economic Council Director Brian Deese told CNBC earlier this month. “What we need right now is to address the immediate supply disruption.”
The supply disruption felt by American consumers today deceptively labeled by the president as “Putin’s Price Hike” wouldn’t be nearly as severe had the administration pursued a sustainable energy policy from day one, with domestic production ready to offset overseas turmoil. On day one, however, President Joe Biden followed through on his campaign promise to launch a regulatory assault against the nation’s oil and gas producers in the name of climate change.
New drilling leases on federal lands were brought to a halt by Biden’s illegal executive order, and Biden unilaterally revoked the cross-border permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline to transport oil from the Canadian Tar Sands to Gulf Refineries. Fifteen months later, an unpopular administration desperate to save political capital and bring down gas prices is searching for ways to import Canadian crude after the White House terminated the project to accomplish exactly that.
Transport by train or truck presents far more environmental risks than by pipe, also undermining the administration’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline. The brief video from Kite and Key Media outlines the importance of pipeline infrastructure below:
The White House has been doubling down on its decision to cancel the Keystone Pipeline even as West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin urges the administration to reverse course under a new name.
“The brand of the XL pipeline is probably gone,” Manchin told reporters on a visit to Canada Tuesday. “Can it be rebranded, can it be rerouted, can it be these different things?”
“Asked for comment,” The Hill reported, “a White House spokesperson said that the U.S. is engaging with various oil producing countries to address the current supply imbalance, but also noted that the Keystone pipeline would not have added to current supply.”
At first glance, the White House has a point. The Keystone XL Pipeline would not have transported Canadian crude until 2023. Only 8 percent was complete by the time it was cancelled, and TC Energy, the company behind the project, walked away from the controversial pipeline which had become a political football last summer.
“The Keystone was not an oilfield — it’s a pipeline,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in March when asked whether Biden would reverse his decision. “The oil is continuing to flow in, just through other means. So, it actually would have nothing do with the current supply imbalance.”
A broader look at the industry, however, reveals how the administration’s repeal of the pipeline’s permit promising 830,000 daily barrels of crude to Gulf refineries helped drive gas prices through the roof. More important, said Tom Pyle, the president of the American Energy Alliance, is the signal Biden sent by taking an axe to the pipeline as emblematic of the war to come on fossil fuels, chilling Wall Street investment in the capital- and labor-intensive industry and therefore suppressing production.
“Biden’s actions from day one of his presidency and continuing to this day has sent a strong signal to the market that long-term investment in domestic natural gas, oil, and coal projects carries significant political and financial risk,” Pyle told The Federalist. Reversing course on the Keystone Pipeline by itself would not significantly affect gas prices, Pyle said, “But if construction were to actually resume and Biden reversed course on some or all of the 70-plus additional actions the administration has taken to discourage production, it would definitely move the needle.”
“This would be irrelevant had the Obama/Biden pdministration not played politics with Keystone in the first place because oil would be flowing through it by now,” Pyle added, with a reminder President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden blocked construction of the pipeline in 2015.
Kathleen Sgamma, the president of the Denver-based industry trade group Western Energy Alliance, concurred.
“They’ve been trying to put the blame on American producers for high gasoline prices, even though their policies have put countless obstacles in front of us, but it doesn’t get any clearer than the president cancelling the KeystoneXL permit,” Sgamma told The Federalist. “The president could send a strong signal to the market by reversing course on KeystoneXL and many other anti-oil projects, but he’s too wedded to his Green New Deal agenda and too weak of a leader to do what’s necessary to bring down gasoline prices.”
At full capacity, the KeystoneXL Pipeline would be transporting 30 percent more crude to Gulf refineries today than the United States imported from Russia last year had construction continued under the Obama/Biden administration. Now the administration has pivoted to blaming overseas adversaries for high gas prices despite increases climbing as soon as Biden took office, coinciding with the White House war on fossil fuels and long before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Americans who buy electric cars, administration officials argue, will be spared the burden at the pump, never mind the $56,400 price tag.
“There is one simple fact the White House won’t admit,” said Larry Behrens with the energy non-profit Power the Future, “the Keystone pipeline would’ve been online and producing for us way before the president’s recent executive order to dig up rare earth metals for electric vehicles would produce an ounce of product.”