Republican chief legal officers in more than a dozen states are urging President Joe Biden to reconsider his quashing of the Keystone XL Pipeline and are criticizing the “hypocrisy” of the U.S. now potentially importing Canadian oil.
On his first day in office, Biden revoked the permit for a $9 billion pipeline designed to transport hundreds of thousands of oil barrels from Alberta, Canada, to the United States. Now, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen is leading the charge to reinstate it.
“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 attorneys general write in a letter sent Monday obtained by The Daily Wire. “We hate to say we told you so.”
Biden’s cancellation of the 1,200-mile pipeline reportedly killed thousands of jobs, and Republicans wrote to the administration in February demanding to know how many. Knudsen and 20 other Republican attorneys general filed a lawsuit last year against Biden alleging he exceeded his authority by nixing the pipeline, The Daily Wire reported.
The letter comes amid record-high gas prices and 40-year high inflation that has put a strain on American families. The Producer Price Index, an inflation measurement for wholesale producers, spiked 11.2% annually from March 2021 to March 2022, The Daily Wire reported. The Consumer Price Index, which tracks consumer inflation, reached its highest level in 41 years only a day before these numbers were released.
“We’re seeing 50 plus percent increases in the price of gasoline,” Knudsen told The Daily Wire in an interview. “I don’t care if you’re in Montana or if you’re in Virginia. Everybody bears that cost and that hurts. Fuel is what drives our economy and we have to be able to drive our vehicles. We have to be able to heat our homes.”
The Republicans say European countries are now “unable” to levy sanctions on Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine without risking an economic recession and blast the president for a potentially contradictory decision to now import oil from Canada. The letter notes that the pipeline would have provided the same oil.
TC Energy, the company overseeing the pipeline, filed a $15 billion trade claim against Biden last year seeking damages from the U.S. government. The formal request for arbitration was submitted under an alleged “breach” of the legacy North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
TC Energy did not respond to a request for comment.
According to the legal officers, Biden’s “excessive regulations” are raising energy costs. They reference a portion of Executive Order 13990 that aims to reduce “climate pollution” and the suspension of rail tank cars being able to transport liquified natural gas.
In February 2021, Biden moved to halt oil and gas leases on federal lands. The administration said Friday it would resume leases with the plan of reducing land usage and also charge companies more money for production.
Knudsen said that while “leases are available” to companies it is clear that the administration has “made the terms so unfavorable” and implemented further regulations that hamper production.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
“Your decisions, however, have stripped Americans of the manifold benefits the Keystone XL pipeline would deliver—jobs, tax revenue, and new and sustained economic opportunities,” the attorneys general write in their letter.
“There is no end in sight to the painfully high energy costs or inflation that Americans are now enduring because of your failed policies,” they also write. “Stop the quiet conversations with foreign powers and oligarchs. The solutions are right here at home. On behalf of the citizens of our states, we demand you immediately take the actions outlined above to reverse the damage you have done and provide relief for struggling families and businesses.”
In addition to Knudsen, signers include Steve Marshall of Alabama, Treg R. Taylor of Alaska, Mark Brnovich of Arizona, Leslie Rutledge of Arkansas, Ashley Moody of Florida, Todd Rokita of Indiana, Jeff Landry of Louisiana, Lynn Fitch of Mississippi, Eric Schmitt of Missouri, John O’Connor of Oklahoma, Alan Wilson of South Carolina, Ken Paxton of Texas, Sean Reyes of Utah, Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia, and Bridget Hill of Wyoming.