Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV) urged President Joe Biden this week to reverse his job-killing executive order canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Manchin’s plea to Biden, which was sent in a letter to Biden on Tuesday, came in addition to attorneys general in 14 states slamming Biden in a letter over the same issue.
“I am writing today to express my support of responsible energy infrastructure development, including of oil and natural gas pipelines,” Manchin wrote. “Pipelines continue to be the safest mode to transport our oil and natural gas resources and they support thousands of high-paying, American union jobs. To that end, 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.”
“In the absence of access to pipelines, crude oil will continue to find its way to market through increased reliance on other modes of transport, like truck and rail, which have a higher number of reported releases of crude oil per ton-mile than pipelines,” Manchin added. “Recent analysis by the Department of Transportation shows that incidents occurred approximately once every 50 million gallons of crude oil shipped by rail and once every 55 million gallons shipped by truck, compared to once every 720 million gallons shipped by pipeline. Further, the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration noted that pipelines have a 99.999% safety record. From a safety perspective, we should be encouraging the transport of energy via our vast network of pipelines and facilitate the responsible expansion of that network.”
Manchin said that he was encouraged by Biden’s claims that he wanted to help union workers and “Build Back Better,” but noted that it was “of the utmost importance” that the U.S. maintain “energy security through strategic relationships with our allies rather than increasing reliance on OPEC nations and Russia.”
“This includes the development of infrastructure, like the Keystone XL and Mountain Valley pipelines, to get this energy to market in the safest and most environmentally responsible way,” Manchin concluded. “Pipeline infrastructure projects already undergo a rigorous permitting process that allows experts to weigh-in on the security, safety, and environmental impacts of the project. I encourage you to let these processes proceed as intended and to not let politics drive the decisions on the development and operation of our nation’s vital energy infrastructure.”
The letter from Manchin comes in addition to a letter that Biden received from the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and West Virginia.
“As the chief legal officers of our states, we write with alarm regarding your unilateral and rushed decision to revoke the 2019 Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL pipeline,” the 14 attorneys general wrote. “Your decision will result in devastating damage to many of our states and local communities. Even those states outside the path of the Keystone XL pipeline—indeed all Americans—will suffer serious, detrimental consequences.”
Toward the end of the letter, the attorneys general told Biden that his claims that he wanted to “unite the Nation” were nothing more than “empty rhetoric” based on his actions.
“Please be aware that the states are reviewing available legal options to protect our residents and sovereign interests,” the letter concluded. “In the meantime, we urge you to reconsider your decision to impose crippling economic injuries on states, communities, families, and workers across the country.”
Biden has already started to face widespread backlash for canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline. Even AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who endorsed Biden, admitted in an interview last week that Biden has “cost us jobs” and he encouraged Biden to consider the “future of the country.”