Exploring economic, industrial effects of Keystone XL pipeline reversal

Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 2:21 PM EST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Republican lawmakers are critical of President Biden’s decision to reverse the Keystone XL pipeline permit.

Both Republican Senators Jerry Moran and Roger Marshall of Kansas are claiming thousands of American jobs will be lost.

It’s a concern that’s also echoed by many leaders in the oil and gas industry.

“We think it was really misguided,” Senior Vice President for Government Relations for the Independent Petroleum Association of America Dan Naatz said about President Biden’s executive order. “It impacts jobs and economies through the inner-mountain West, all the way through the country.”

This rhetoric is the latest in a ten-year tussle between policymakers, environmentalists, and the fossil fuel industry, surrounding the future of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The 1,700-mile pipeline was planned to carry roughly 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

In 2015, after a series of environmental and federal reviews, the Obama administration rejected TransCanada’s permit request to expand the original keystone pipeline.

But first, they took a detailed look at the numbers.

The State Department found the project would create around 3,900 hundred direct, temporary construction jobs in the pipeline’s path. It would also contribute 3.4 billion to the nation’s GDP.

The details are outlined in this 2014 report.

Five years ago, as Secretary of State, John Kerry was the one who swung the hammer on the project. He said his decision wasn’t based on numbers, but on combatting the climate crisis. Now, he’s part of President Biden’s climate team.

Following President Biden’s slew of climate executive orders this week, Naatz says he’s concerned about the future and is calling for his industry to be included in the conversation.

“We think we can be a contribution to the question of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but at the same time producing energy the country is going to need,” said Naatz.

Many Republican lawmakers, including Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), have introduced legislation to authorize continued construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The Republican Congress passed a similar bill in 2015, but President Obama vetoed it.

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