South Dakota Governor Calls Biden’s Abrupt Termination of Keystone Pipeline ‘Dangerous’

February 17, 2021 Updated: February 17, 2021

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said that President Joe Biden’s recent executive decision to end the Keystone XL Pipeline project has not only hurt her state’s economy but is dangerous for America’s energy independence, adding that she would like to see the Biden administration prioritize all-of-the-above energy policy.

“I’ve always been a supporter of diversified energy, I think it’s critically important that we prioritize all forms of energy,” Noem told Fox News on Wednesday. “Biden has specifically gone after coal and oil and gas and I think that’s dangerous.”

“We should be supporting energy that’s generated here in the United States so we rely on our own sources but also, we don’t put all of our eggs in one basket, we make sure it is diversified so we don’t have the situation that we’ve got today in so many different states,” Noem added.

“You know I’m a supporter of wind energy but it’s not consistent and that’s why you’re always going to need other forms of electricity to support the system and the grid so that families can make sure they can keep their houses warm.”

Biden signed an executive order on Jan. 20 that halted the Keystone Pipeline project that former President Trump approved, saying it was part of his administration’s larger agenda to tackle with the projected “climate crisis.”

Many lawmakers like Noem from states where many families are supported by jobs in the fossil fuel industry have criticized Biden’s approach to pushing the United States toward a more carbon neutral economy.

Noem told Fox News that Biden’s abrupt and sweeping cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline shortly after taking office on Jan. 20 had directly impacted jobs and devastated communities that were preparing for the arrival of residents and tax revenue in her state.

South Dakota
The White River weaves through the landscape near where the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would pass south of Presho, South Dakota, on Oct. 13, 2014. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

“They had already built a couple of pumping stations they have the pipeline laid out ready to be installed,” Noem said of the part of the pipeline passing through her state. “And then when he pulled the permits, everything just stopped.”

“We had restaurants and motels and gas stations that had expanded, getting ready for the workers that were going to be here for the next several years building the pipeline. They were excited about the opportunities to get the property taxes and these local small schools from the pipeline. It was always going to be a source of revenue that would help them keep their roads fixed, keep commerce going, and make sure that their teachers could be well paid and a lot of these remote areas where economic development is a little challenging,” she said.

Noem challenged the negative opinions of the pipeline and its environmental impacts, saying that it would provide a more efficient and environmentally clean way to transport fossil fuels that are currently being moved by rail and truck from Canada regardless of whether the pipeline gets built. In addition, Noem noted the project, when fully installed, would have brought down the cost of oil and gas for Americans.

Democrat Senator from West Virginia Joe Manchin in a Feb. 9 letter to the president contended that the pipeline is 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 added.

Many other Democrats have praised the Biden administration’s climate agenda and want to quickly move toward alternative energy sources and away from fossil fuels.

Marty Durbin, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s internal think tank the Global Energy Institute, said Biden’s decision to halt the pipeline was not grounded in science.

“The pipeline—the most studied infrastructure project in American history—is already under construction and has cleared countless legal and environmental hurdles,” Durbin said in a statement. “Halting construction will also impede the safe and efficient transport of oil, and unfairly single out production from one of our closest and most important allies.”

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