A coalition of more than 90 Montana lawmakers signed a letter to President Joe Biden seeking to bring attention to the merits of the Keystone XL pipeline—a project canceled by Biden on his first day in office.
The letter, signed by lawmakers across the state’s legislature, argues that the pipeline isn’t the same project reviewed by President Barack Obama in 2008, noting that TC Energy, the company behind the pipeline, had since pledged major changes such as making it a zero-emissions project.
Lawmakers say energy production is the “lifeblood of Montana’s economy” and that the pipeline would bring in “hundreds of good-paying jobs to rural Montana and help workers put food on their table for their young families.”
They say the project would bring in a large amount of revenue, including around $80 million per year in tax revenue.
“As Montana’s elected leaders, we must oppose the cancelling of the Keystone XL project and stand with Montana’s energy producers, working people and rural communities,” the letter states.
“I, like you, want to see Montanans thrive. We must fight for the future of Montana and the good paying jobs that will make the future brighter.”
Rural communities are hurt most by the cancellation of the pipeline, according to the lawmakers. The Epoch Times published a four-part series exploring some of the effects of the Keystone pipeline cancellation that has left many towns struggling to survive.
“The shutdown of the pipeline ultimately hurts those most vulnerable,” the letter reads. “The pipeline was doing more than just creating jobs and revenue for Montana, it was bringing life back into these small towns that had otherwise been forgotten.”
The Keystone XL pipeline was a massive project that was expected to generate $3.4 billion in U.S. GDP growth, including millions in state and local tax revenue, according to the U.S. Chamber Global Energy Institute.
It comes as 14 Republican attorneys general urge Biden to reconsider his decision to cancel a permit for the construction of the pipeline, to prevent severe economic harm. They’re also threatening to take legal action.
Decisions on the pipeline have “long ago stopped being about the merits of the project,” argued the lawmakers. “Now it seems every decision is politically motivated.”
They urged for a discussion on the facts surrounding the pipeline, including the economic benefits to the impacted counties. Lawmakers called for people to start working together in order to alleviate any remaining concerns so the project can become a reality.
Montana’s state budget also relies heavily on revenue generated from “exported wind, hydro and coal-fired power to keep our state budget strong,” according to the lawmakers. The state would be able to “sit comfortably” knowing it had “another consistent source of income.”
“This money would be used to help keep our economy running strong and allow funding to be put into rural school systems that are in desperate need,” the letter states.
Biden’s executive order canceling the pipeline states that the project “disserves the U.S. national interest,” and that the country is facing a “climate crisis.” The Biden administration has stated that combating climate change is a key part of its agenda and has often talked about creating renewable energy jobs and reducing emissions.