26 Senate Republicans Request Meeting With Biden Over Actions Affecting Energy Workers

26 Senate Republicans Request Meeting With Biden Over Actions Affecting Energy Workers
A pumpjack sits on the outskirts of town at dawn in the Permian Basin oil field in the oil town of Midland, Texas, on Jan. 21, 2016. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Bill Pan

More than two dozen Republican senators are calling for a meeting with President Joe Biden to discuss the new administration’s recent executive orders and regulatory actions, which they worry could have devastating effects on American families whose livelihood is tied to the domestic energy sector.

In a letter to Biden, 26 senators from states where economic growth and employment heavily rely on the oil and gas industry, wrote that they were “surprised” by the president’s actions that could put “hundreds of thousands of” energy jobs in their states at risk.

“Your actions will have grave consequences for our constituents, and taking these actions on your very first week as President, with no input from those of us who represent these hard working Americans is counter to the desires of the American people who want practical, bipartisan solutions to our nation’s challenges, and who want policies that support working families,” the letter reads.

The senators, including Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who chairs Senate’s energy committee, particularly took issue with the decision to scrap the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline project, part of the Biden administration’s effort to address climate change. If built as planned, the 1,200-mile pipeline would have delivered more than 830,000 barrels of oil each day from Alberta, Canada, to Southeastern Nebraska.

President Donald Trump restarted the Keystone project almost 4 years ago via an executive order. He said at the time that he expected the pipeline to create 28,000 construction jobs.

“When built with union labor by the men and women of the United Association, pipelines like Keystone XL remain the safest and most efficient modes of energy transportation in the world. Sadly, the Biden Administration has now put thousands of union workers out of work,” the senators wrote, citing the recent remark of Mark McManus, general president of the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters. “For the average American family, it means energy costs will go up and communities will no longer see the local investments that come with pipeline construction.”

The senators also voiced opposition to the suspension on oil and gas activity in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), one of the first actions Biden took as president. The 19 million-acre ANWR, estimated to contain some 11 billion barrels of oil, was reopened for drilling during the Trump administration to fund a multi-billion dollar tax cut program.

“At your inauguration, you pledged to represent all Americans, including those who live in our states,” the letter continues. “The best path to reach true unity is to work together to find solutions for them and for our environment. We stand ready to work with you and your nominees to meet the challenges our country faces, including working for a cleaner future, and protecting our hard working men and women.”