Fifteen State AGs Ask Biden To Reconsider Keystone Pipeline Cancellation
February 24, 2021
One of President Biden’s first executive actions was to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, part of the 1200 mile long pipeline system that runs from the tar sands of western Canada into Montana, and then down as far the Texas Gulf Coast. The action was praised by environmentalists, as well as Native American groups that consider the project desecration of their land and fear potentially catastrophic damage to rivers and the water table.
An article about the cancellation in the New Yorker, by environmentalist Bill McKibben, calls the cancellation “a landmark in the climate fight,” but McKibben acknowledges there was significant opposition to the cancellation, and not just from the fossil fuel companies but from some unions, mainly the building-trades unions. “A construction worker earning ninety thousand dollars is, correctly, a more sympathetic figure than an oil executive earning ten times that much,” McKibben writes.
His reading of the political dynamic is seemingly borne out by way of a letter sent to President Biden and signed by 14 state attorneys general. “Your decision will result in devastating damage to many of our states and local communities,” they write, citing what they project as a loss of thousands of jobs, including union jobs, as well as loss of revenue from taxes, easements and leases .
A few days later Biden got a second letter, with similar claims and admonishments, from Oklahoma’s attorney general, Mike Hunter. “I have worked in the oil and gas industry at almost every level,” Hunter says. “First, as a roustabout in college to help pay my way through school, then as an attorney in the private sector, and later as general counsel to the state’s oil and gas regulator. Now, as attorney general of Oklahoma, one of my most important responsibilities is protecting the state’s economic activities from unlawful federal intrusion.”
Hunter maintains that Biden’s decision “will eliminate thousands of well-paying jobs, many of them union jobs.”
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