Montana AG to Newsmax: White House Must Reverse on Keystone

Montana AG to Newsmax: White House Must Reverse on Keystone Gasoline prices hover around $4.00 a gallon for the least expensive grade at several gas stations in the nation's capital on April 11, 2022 in Washington, DC. The high fuel prices are a combination of the lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic, supply chain breakdowns, high inflation and the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Monday, 25 April 2022 01:51 PM

The White House has not yet responded to a letter from 16 attorneys general who are pushing for a reversal on the decision to shutter construction on the Keystone XL pipeline other than presenting incorrect talking points, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who is leading a multi-state lawsuit, said on Newsmax Monday.

"We'd like to see the president reverse course on Keystone," the GOP official told Newsmax's "National Report." "That would fix this problem. Keystone would be a long way down the road towards completion and it would have offered some stability to the markets."

The Biden administration has maintained that had the construction moved forward, that would not have increased oil supply and it would have been years in the future before oil would be moving, and has continued to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin and the war in Ukraine for the climbing prices on oil and natural gas.

"My response to that argument is that these people know nothing about supply-side economics involved in petroleum production," said Knudsen. "That's an industry that needs stability. It needs long-term stability and that's what this would have…yes, it's true that the project would not be completed yet, but it would be real close. That project was slated to be completed by next year."

The effects of the construction would have also shown in the futures market, as 800,000 barrels of Canadian and American oil coming to market every day would have calmed the market and cut prices.

"Instead, we're seeing 50% increases in gasoline prices," said Knudsen. "We're seeing a 150% increase in natural gas prices. People don't often tie that together with oil production, but that's where natural gas comes from. It's a byproduct of petroleum and oil production, and that's why we're seeing such a huge increase in the price of propane and the price of natural gas."

In the letter, Knudsen told the White House that "we hate to say we told you so," but insisted it's not too late for President Joe Biden to change his mind.

Just knowing that the pipeline project has come across the border would have added stability to the market, Knudsen told Newsmax.

"We're talking about almost a million barrels of oil per day that would have been going to three separate American refineries that then would have been going out to American gas pumps all over the country," he said, rejecting another Biden talking point that the additional oil was going to be shipped out.

"Long-term stability is what this project would have given," said Knudsen. "It would have calmed the market down. It would have certainly calmed the futures market down and you wouldn't have seen the price of oil spike so quickly."

The attorney general also addressed the immigration crisis, commenting that even though Montana is not a border state with Mexico, the drugs that are being smuggled in are hitting his state hard.

"I tell people fentanyl is the number one problem in Montana, of all problems," he said. "Two years ago, our state Division of Criminal Investigation said we didn't have any fentanyl cases. This year, we've seen a 1200% increase in fentanyl cases. We're having huge seizures on our highways, upwards of 9,000 to 10,000 tablets of fentanyl at a time. We're having overdose deaths even right here in our state capital."

And all that is coming from the Mexican drug cartels, "across the unsecured southern border," said Knudsen. "It absolutely is causing all violent crime in Montana."

He also accused federal officials of "dereliction of duty" after they did not show up for a recent briefing in Texas with him and other officials.

"That's not just not talking to us," he said. "That's willfully running away and hiding from this issue."

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