Sen. Joe Manchin Pushes Biden to Rescind Keystone XL Pipeline Order

February 9, 2021 Updated: February 9, 2021

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is urging President Joe Biden to reverse course on the Keystone XL pipeline after the president issued an executive order to revoke a permit on Jan. 20.

Manchin, in a letter to the president on Tuesday, argued that pipelines such as the Keystone XL are the “safest mode to transport our oil and natural gas resources and they support thousands of high-paying, American union jobs.”

“I encourage you to reconsider your decision to revoke the cross-border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and take into account the potential impacts of any further action to safety, jobs, and energy security,” he said.

Republicans pushed back on the move to revoke the Keystone XL’s border-crossing permit, saying that it would and has cost thousands of jobs.

Other than Manchin, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) expressed support for keeping the pipeline, joining Republicans on a resolution.

According to an executive order issued by Biden on Inauguration Day, “In 2015, following an exhaustive review, the Department of State and the President determined that approving the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would not serve the U.S. national interest,” adding: “That analysis, in addition to concluding that the significance of the proposed pipeline for our energy security and economy is limited, stressed that the United States must prioritize the development of a clean energy economy, which will in turn create good jobs.”

“The analysis,” it added, “further concluded that approval of the proposed pipeline would undermine U.S. climate leadership by undercutting the credibility and influence of the United States.”

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry also said on Jan. 28 that Biden is looking to find “better choices” for workers in the energy industry for jobs that “pay better.”

But over the weekend, AFL–CIO President Richard Trumka, the head of the largest union in the U.S., cautiously criticized Biden’s Keystone XL order.

“I wish [Biden] hadn’t done that on the first day,” he said in an interview with Axios. “It did and will cost us jobs in the process,” Trumka said. “I wish he had paired that more carefully with the thing that he did second by saying, ‘Here’s where we’re creating jobs. We can do mine reclamation. We can fix leaks. We can fix seeps and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in doing all of that stuff.’”

A number of conservative groups, along with officials in Canada, have said the move will kill numerous jobs. Some estimates say that it would impact as many as 60,000 jobs overall.

However, Biden’s move was praised by environmental groups, with Anthony Swift, director of NRDC’s Canada project, saying it is tantamount to a “more prosperous future” with “clean energy.”