Coalition of Republican State Attorneys General Urge Biden to Reconsider Scrapped Keystone Pipeline

Coalition of Republican State Attorneys General Urge Biden to Reconsider Scrapped Keystone Pipeline
Miles of unused pipe, prepared for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, sit in a lot outside Gascoyne, N.D., on Oct. 14, 2014. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Katabella Roberts

A coalition of Republican state attorneys general from over a dozen states across the U.S. has urged President Joe Biden to reinstate the Keystone XL pipeline after it was canceled by the administration last year.

The chief legal advisers were led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen in sending a letter to Biden asking him to "stop federal efforts to impose excessive regulations that will increase Americans’ energy costs."

Biden canceled the $9 billion pipeline designed to transport oil from Canada to the United States last year, citing predicted impacts of climate change following a 13-year dispute which lasted three presidential administrations.

The project would have bought 900,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Alberta to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Republicans and advocates of the pipeline have long argued that it would drastically reduce gas prices for Americans which have surged in recent months.

In a letter to Biden in February 2021, Knudsen previously warned that Americans faced costly energy bills while the nation would become more dependent on Russian and Middle Eastern oil if the president persisted with his so-called "anti-energy policies."

Now, Knudsen says, those predictions have come true.

"We hate to say we told you so," the letter sent to Biden this week stated. "Just over a year later, new record high gas prices are seemingly set every day, economy-wide inflation—the highest in 40 years—is straining the budgets of American families, and European countries are unable to impose oil and gas sanctions on Russia without risking an economic recession."

"Instead, European countries are spending $1 billion per day on Russian oil and gas and literally funding Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in the process," the letter continued.

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb. (Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP)
In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb. (Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP)

Knudsen noted that the 2019 decision to revoke the permit for the 1,200-mile pipeline cost "thousands of jobs, millions in tax revenue, and economic opportunity for the communities along its route."

The Montana Attorney General also said it sets a "dangerous precedent" for future permits and projects that would enhance America's energy security and independence.

He noted that the Biden administration is now reportedly seeking to import more oil from Canada, according to multiple reports.

"The oil you now want to import from Canada is the same oil that would have flowed through the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported nearly a million barrels per day—not only from Canada but from the Bakken oilfields in Montana and North Dakota—to American refineries," The letter to Biden continued.

"The hypocrisy would be stunning if it weren’t so insulting to American energy workers and those in rural communities who benefited from the pipeline’s many economic opportunities."

The letter also called on Biden to "make clear to congressional Democrats that he will veto their attempts to increase oil and gas taxes and impose costly new methane rules on energy production."

“Recent events have made it strikingly obvious that more domestic energy development is needed to prevent future economic hardship for Americans," the letter continued while calling out Biden for "stripping" Americans of numerous benefits related to the Keystone XL pipeline.

"There is no end in sight to the painfully high energy costs or inflation that Americans are now enduring because of your failed policies," Knudsen wrote.

"Stop the quiet conversations with foreign powers and oligarchs. The solutions are right here at home. On behalf of the citizens of our states, we demand you immediately take the actions outlined above to reverse the damage you have done and provide relief for struggling families and businesses. It’s never too late to admit your mistakes."

The letter was signed by attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Knudsen and 20 other Republican attorneys general filed a lawsuit against Biden in May 2021 alleging that he exceeded his presidential authority by pulling the plug on the pipeline on his first day in office, The Daily Wire reported.

The attorneys' general letter comes as gas prices have reached all-time highs, driven by sky-high inflation levels, supply chain issues, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), consumer prices rose by 8.5 percent in March from a year earlier—the largest 12-month increase since December 1981.
Meanwhile, the national average gas price is $4.087 as of April 18, up from $2.870 a year ago.
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