19 AGs Urge Biden to Reinstate Keystone XL After Colonial Hack A pipe fitter lays the finishing touches to the replacement of Enbridge Energy's Line 3 crude oil pipeline stretch in Superior, Wisc. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii /Star Tribune via AP)
Monday, 17 May 2021 07:19 PM
Nineteen Republican state attorneys general on Monday urged President Joe Biden to reverse his cancelation of the Keystone XL pipeline project following the recent cyberattack of the Colonial Pipeline that created fuel shortages on the East Coast.
In a letter led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, the group pointed to Biden's own relaxing of environmental safety rules to help "secur[e] critical energy supply chains … alleviate shortages … [and] avoid potential energy supply disruptions to impacted communities."
"Most Americans — particularly those not located along the coasts — now wish you had been so diligent and responsive before you determined that Keystone XL could be sacrificed on the altar of left-wing virtue signaling," the letter said.
The states with attorneys general signing the letter were: Montana, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Biden canceled the Keystone XL project just hours after taking office as one of his flurry of executive actions reversing Trump-era policies. Biden said at the time his administration would focus on a "clean energy economy" rather than the fossil fuels being sent from the Canada to the Gulf Coast through the new leg of the already existing Keystone Pipeline.
Republicans and labor unions alike complained that the action killed jobs, but Democrats and some economists said most of the jobs were only temporary construction work and not the boon to the economy that the GOP and unions claimed.
Still, those who immediately found themselves unemployed and the towns where they spent their incomes immediately felt the impact. The AGs' letter reaffirmed those points and added that they already are pursuing the case in federal court.
"But beyond the basic lawlessness of your decision, the current predicament shows what a poor policy decision it was," they said. "Your impulse to bow to an extreme climate agenda untethered to scientific fact or reality — exhibited by the Keystone XL cancellation and other similar actions — affirmatively deprives Americans of the safe and clean energy supply they need now."
The letter notes that when Biden was vice president, the State Department concluded "multiple times" that Keystone XL was a "net positive for the economy, the environment, and energy security."
"And just days ago, your Energy Secretary [Jennifer Granholm] acknowledged that a pipeline — as opposed to other transport methods — 'is the best way to go' when it comes to moving fossil fuels," the letter says.
"Maybe one day, down the road, we will obtain the Utopian energy profile you desire," the letter concludes, "But in the meantime, Americans want practical, effective leadership — not visionary deprivations."
The Colonial Pipeline has resumed operations after the cyberattack by the Russian hacking group DarkSide. Colonial paid $5 million in the ransomware attack, but it has taken several days for gasoline supplies to return to normal as gasoline prices have spiked at the pump and several states have seen stations run out of fuel amid hoarding.