Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday heavily criticized the Biden administration’s actions on energy policy that he collectively dubbed a “piecemeal green new deal.”
“There’s nothing green about a tsunami of pink slips for American workers, or carting Canadian crude around in trucks and trains instead of a pipeline,” McConnell said. “This piecemeal green new deal is the wrong prescription. Wrong for the environment, wrong for national security. And most of all for the working Americans who will soon be formerly working Americans if this keeps up.”
He added, “China, Russia, and our other competitors must be thrilled, absolutely thrilled, that our new government is essentially declaring war on some of our own economic foundations to satisfy a craving for symbolic gesture.
“Wilfully throwing our own people out of work, reducing our domestic energy security, raising costs and prices for working families—all for no meaningful impact on global temperatures.”
The Republican senator praised the policies of the Trump administration saying, “The last four years prove that growing our prosperity, reducing emissions, and expanding domestic energy are actually not in tension—we can achieve all three.”
Keystone XL Oil PipelineMcConnell called Biden’s decision to revoke the permit on the Keystone XL oil pipeline a “massive setback for energy security in North America.” Former President Donald Trump had in 2017 permitted the completion of the pipeline.
Biden’s executive order that paused the pipeline’s construction said that in 2015, the Department of State and former President Barack Obama “determined that approving the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would not serve the U.S. national interest.”
Paris Climate AccordSeparately, McConnell said that Biden’s decision on Jan. 20 to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord will only bring Americans “serious pain.”
“We’ve headed back into an international pact that would’ve self inflict[ed] serious pain on working families, that failed to curb China’s emissions, and without which our own emissions have been dropping anyway,” he said.
John Kerry, former secretary of state under the Obama-Biden administration and now Biden’s top environmental policy adviser, “admitted yesterday that even if the United States somehow brought our carbon emissions to zero, it wouldn’t make much difference in the global picture,” McConnell pointed out. “That’s because our competitors, including China, have already gone roaring past us.”
Ban on Oil, Gas Development on Public LandMcConnell also questioned Biden’s Wednesday decision to halt oil and natural gas development on public lands.
“Yesterday, the administration slammed the brakes on further domestic energy development on the huge swaths of land owned by the federal government,” the senator said Thursday. “No new oil, gas or coal leases on federal land.”
“Our responsible use of these lands accounts for more than a fifth, one fifth, of our domestic production—about 2.8 million barrels per day. That is almost the equivalent of Kuwait’s daily oil production from our federal lands alone. Plus more than 10 [percent] of domestic natural gas,” he noted.
Kerry also asserted that it’s a false notion that “dealing with climate” is coming at the expense of energy workers. He added that there is “a lot of money to be made” in the creation of new “healthier” jobs in sectors such as green hydrogen, geothermal heat, and other renewables.
“One million lost jobs by next year alone. Goes a heck of a way to kick off a presidency—mass layoffs of our own citizens,” he emphasized.
McConnell said that states which have much of their oil and natural gas production tied to federal land will suffer significant job losses by next year, with estimates suggesting at least 16,000 jobs are at stake in New Mexico and 3,000 jobs in Colorado if Biden’s federal ban persists.
McConnell added, “Working Americans in other sectors will pay as well.”
According to the study, the decision on federal lands could mean that U.S. households could spend a cumulative $19 billion more on energy by 2030.