E&E News reports a coalition of 14 attorneys general, led by Montana AG Austin Knudsen, are calling for President Biden to reinstate the permit that allowed the Keystone XL pipeline to cross the Canadian border.
The letter highlights the significant economic impact of Biden’s decision to block the crude oil pipeline, noting:
The real-world costs are devastating. Nationally, your decision will eliminate thousands of well-paying jobs, many of them union jobs. Your order hearkened back to the 2015 determination from the Obama Administration “that the significance of the proposed pipeline for our energy security and economy is limited.” Thousands of displaced workers and their families surely disagree with that heartless assessment. And it’s cold comfort to suggest to now-jobless Americans that by turning the page on projects like Keystone XL, workers can look forward to high-paying green energy jobs that don’t yet exist. It’s bad enough for the government to pick winners and losers in the marketplace, but much worse when the winners are aspirational. Aspirations don’t put food on the table, or pay the phone bill, or put kids through college. Jobs do, and you eliminated thousands of them with the stroke of a pen.
The pipeline states and their local communities will also suffer dramatically. In Montana for instance, killing Keystone XL will likely cost the state approximately $58 million in annual tax revenue. Montana will lose the benefits of future easements and leases, and several local counties will lose their single-biggest property taxpayer. The loss of Keystone XL’s economic activity and tax revenues are especially devastating as five of the six impacted counties are designated high-poverty areas. So your decision to shut down the project means less money for schools, less money for public services, and the elimination of business and job opportunities in those areas where they are most needed. Montana businesses, local governments, and utilities have also made substantial investments in preparation of servicing the pipeline. Those expenditures are now sunk with no hope of return, the prospects for increased economic activity have evaporated, and Montanans’ energy bills are likely to increase.
Beyond the economic ramifications, the letter goes on to describe KXL as the “safest means of transporting oil and natural gas,” and also points to the project’s investments in green and renewable energy sources. The letter also points out that the project would increase American consumer access to low-cost energy, as well reduce American dependence on oil from Russia and the Middle East. In conclusion, the letter emphasizes we cannot “Build Back better” by tearing down critical infrastructure investments like Keystone.