Fourteen state attorneys general sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Tuesday urging him to reconsider his executive order rescinding the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
The group said in the letter, "Your decision will result in devastating damage to many of our states and local communities. Even those states outside the path of the Keystone XL pipeline—indeed all Americans—will suffer serious, detrimental consequences."
Biden revoked former President Trump’s 2019 presidential permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline via executive order during his first day in office. The pipeline was planned to span 1,700 miles from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast when completed, transporting approximately 800,000 barrels of oil per day through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
The letter continued "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 letter also pointed out the economic impacts to high poverty areas. "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. So your decision to shut down the project means less money for schools, less money for public services, and the elimination of business and job opportunities in those areas where they are most needed."
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen led the group of attorneys general. “In Montana for instance, 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,” Knudsen wrote.
The other signers of the letter were Steve Marshall of Alabama, Leslie Rutledge of Arkansas, Christopher Carr of Georgia, Todd Rokita of Indiana, Derek Schmidt of Kansas, Jeff Landry of Louisiana, Lynn Fitch of Mississippi, Eric Schmitt of Missouri, Wayne Stenehjem of North Dakota, Alan Wilson of South Carolina, Jason Ravnsborg of South Dakota, Ken Paxton of Texas and Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia.
The coalition warned Biden that the states are considering legal options in the wake of the administration’s decision. "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 Progressive Contractors Association of Canada said the pipeline would have generated as many as 60,000 jobs in Canada and the US. Construction of the pipeline on the US side would have created about 11,000 American jobs this year, according to the Keystone XL website. 8,000 of those would have been union workers. Following Biden signing the order revoking the permit, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated his opposition to the move, and said "While we welcome the President's commitment to fight climate change, we are disappointed but acknowledge the President’s decision to fulfill his election campaign promise on Keystone XL."
US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked then nominee for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg during a Senate confirmation hearing in January, "And with the stroke of a pen, President Biden has told those 11,000 workers, those union workers, 'Your jobs are gone.' Mr. Buttigieg, what do you say to those workers whose jobs have just been eliminated by presidential edict?"
In January, White House climate czar John Kerry said that workers should pivot to manufacturing solar panels if their jobs were eliminated as a result of Biden’s environmental policies.
"We cannot ‘Build Back Better’ by reflexively tearing down," the AGs said.
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