State AGs Ask Biden to Restart Pipeline

Attorneys General From 16 States Ask Biden to Return Keystone XL Pipeline

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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Attorneys general from 16 states asked President Joe Biden to reinstate the Keystone XL pipeline project even after TC Energy canceled the project following the revocation of a presidential permit. (DTN file photo)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- Attorneys general from 16 states asked President Joe Biden to reinstate the Keystone XL project in light of rising gasoline prices and U.S. efforts to secure oil supplies from Canada and other foreign nations.

In June 2021, TC Energy Corp. terminated the Keystone XL pipeline project after Biden's January 2021 executive order revoked the project's federal permit. The actions ended what some political and business leaders in Midwest states say would have been an economic boost.

Twenty-one states unsuccessfully challenged Biden's executive order in court, in a lawsuit filed in a federal court in Texas.

Attorneys general from Montana, Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming said in a letter to Biden on Monday that their greatest fears about how cutting the project would affect energy prices have come true.

"We warned you then if your decision was not reversed, Americans would 'suffer serious detrimental consequences,' consumers would pay higher prices, and our allies would become further dependent on Russian and Middle Eastern oil," the letter said.

"We hate to say we told you so. Just over a year later, new record-high gas prices are seemingly set every day, economy-wide inflation -- the highest in 40 years -- is straining the budgets of American families, and European countries are unable to impose oil and gas sanctions on Russia without risking an economic recession. Instead, European countries are spending $1 billion per day on Russian oil and gas and literally funding Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine in the process."

The state of Nebraska was at the epicenter of the Keystone debate.

Some farmers and ranchers opposed the pipeline for fear a pipeline accident could harm sensitive lands and the Ogallala Aquifer in the Sandhills in Nebraska.

Multiple reviews by the U.S. Department of State spanning two administrations found the pipeline would pose little or no environmental harm, including no negative effects on climate.

The attorneys general said a report by the Wall Street Journal indicated the Biden administration was trying to increase oil imports from Canada to make up for lost production in the U.S.

"As that report notes, however, there is little capacity in existing pipelines, leaving you with few (if any) viable options," the letter said.

"The oil you now want to import from Canada is the same oil that would have flowed through the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported nearly a million barrels per day -- not only from Canada but from the Bakken oilfields in Montana and North Dakota -- to American refineries. The hypocrisy would be stunning if it weren't so insulting to American energy workers and those in rural communities who benefited from the pipeline's many economic opportunities."

TC Energy faced several legal challenges and changes in federal policy on the project since it originally proposed the $8 billion pipeline in 2008.

In 2018, President Donald Trump's administration issued a presidential permit to build the pipeline as part of a release of a federal review, concluding the pipeline poses no significant threat to the environment.

The 1,700-mile pipeline would have carried about 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta oil fields to Texas refineries.

In November 2018, a federal judge overturned the Trump administration permit and ordered a full environmental review of the project.

TC Energy filed a $15 billion trade damage claim against the U.S. under the North American Free Trade Agreement. The attorneys general said if the company is successful in the challenge, the costs would be "borne by American taxpayers.

"The states took considerable measures to support TC Energy and the project -- a project that would have brought jobs and economic opportunities to many of our underserved communities," the letter said.

"The time for waffling and double-speak has passed. The time for leadership has come, and the path forward is clear. End TC Energy's NAFTA claim charade and reauthorize the Keystone XL pipeline project. Clear the administrative path for the pipeline's development, rescind your revocation of Keystone XL's 2019 presidential permit, and provide regulatory certainty to companies willing to build this vital, arterial pipeline."

Read more on DTN:

"Twenty-One States Sue Biden on Keystone,"…

"TC Energy Kills Keystone Pipeline,"…

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Todd Neeley

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