A group of Republican senators from western states on Tuesday joined with a chorus of other GOP voices in panning President Biden's decision to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline via executive order.
The senators said they will introduce legislation to reverse the Biden administration's decision.
The addition to America's oil pipeline system would take oil from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota and eventually to Nebraska, where it would then meet with other existing pipelines.
The senators, led by Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., emphasized the effect the Biden order would have on Americans who were set to gain jobs from the pipeline.
"It’s only day one, and with the stroke of a pen, Biden has already taken steps to kill American energy projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline which is critical to energy producing states like Montana," Daines said. "This project will create thousands of jobs, generate tax revenue for local communities, promote North American energy security and independence, and it is the safest and most environmentally friendly way to transport oil."
Biden's executive order, however, cited U.S. "national interest" to end the pipeline so that other countries can see America moving away from fossil fuels.
"The Keystone XL pipeline disserves the U.S. national interest," Biden's executive order reads. "The United States and the world face a climate crisis. That crisis must be met with action on a scale and at a speed commensurate with the need to avoid setting the world on a dangerous, potentially catastrophic, climate trajectory."
It continues: "Our domestic efforts must go hand in hand with U.S. diplomatic engagement... The United States must be in a position to exercise vigorous climate leadership in order to achieve a significant increase in global climate action and put the world on a sustainable climate pathway. Leaving the Keystone XL pipeline permit in place would not be consistent with my Administration’s economic and climate imperatives."
Added Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.: "President Biden’s executive order will rob both American and Canadian workers of good-paying jobs... Currently, one thousand union workers are busy constructing the Keystone XL pipeline. When completed, the pipeline will ship oil from the Canadian and Bakken oil fields to American refineries along the Gulf Coast and across the Midwest."
Indeed, despite Biden's longtime support from unions, the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters condemned the move.
"In revoking this permit, the Biden Administration has chosen to listen to the voices of fringe activists instead of union members and the American consumer on Day 1," Mark McManus, the general president of the AFL-CIO-affiliated union, said in a statement. "Let me be very clear: 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."
The White House, meanwhile, noted Biden's campaign promises on green energy projects which would create jobs of their own.
"The President recognizes the need to build infrastructure that creates good-paying union jobs, boosts the U.S. economy, is in our national interest, and advances our climate and clean energy goals," a White House spokesperson told FOX Business. "He knows how to do that; it's with the plan he ran on."
Also joining with Daines and Barrasso in supporting congressional action on the pipeline were Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Jim Risch, R-Idaho; Roger Marshall, R-Kan.; Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.; Jerry Moran, R-Kan.; James Inhofe, R-Okla.; and Jim Hoeven, R-N.D.
The governor of the state where the pipeline would end, Nebraska, said that ending the pipeline will not only hurt jobs, but also hurt the state's tax revenue. He also said the pipeline would be key to energy independence.
"Keystone XL is a critical part of putting together an all-of-the-above strategy for North American energy independence," Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican, said in a statement. "Failure to construct the pipeline would mean more dependence on overseas energy sources as well as fewer jobs and less property tax relief for Nebraskans. This is a project that would greatly benefit not just Nebraska but also our whole country."
The action to revoke the Keystone permit was one of many on Biden's first day, and wasn't the only action on climate change. Biden ordered that the U.S. rejoin the Paris climate agreement.
Newly-minted Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., praised Biden specifically for the move on the Paris accord.
"Over the last four years, the previous administration took enormous steps backward. One of the first things we must do is undo the Trump regression, and executive orders are one of the most effective tools to accomplish just that," Schumer said Wednesday.
He added: "From the reversing the heinous Muslim Ban and inhumane family separation policies to reentering the Paris Climate Agreement, mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and accelerating vaccine distribution, the executive orders announced by the Biden-Harris administration today are just the beginning."
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