Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), perhaps the last living moderate Democrat in the United States Senate, has asked President Joe Biden to reverse his decision to cancel the permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline.
Manchin, the chairman of the Senate Energy an Natural Resources Committee, wrote a letter to Biden Tuesday asking the president to “reconsider” his executive order and “take into account the potential impacts of any further action to safety, jobs, and energy security.”
Manchin’s letter reminds the president that even without a new pipeline, crude oil will be transported across the United States by truck or by train, which are at a greater risk of having an accident that can spill crude oil than construction of a pipeline.
“From a safety perspective, we should be encouraging the transport of energy via our vast network of pipelines and facilitate the responsible expansion of that network,” Manchin wrote.
“Ongoing development of responsible energy infrastructure supports your ‘Build Back Better’ priorities by keeping Americans working while strengthening North American economic and energy security,” Manchin told the president. “It is of the utmost importance that the United States maintain that energy security through strategic relationships with our allies rather than increasing reliance on OPEC nations and Russia. This includes the development of infrastructure, like the Keystone XL and Mountain Valley pipelines, to get this energy to market in the safest and most environmentally responsible way.
“Pipeline infrastructure projects already undergo a rigorous permitting process that allows experts to weigh-in on the security, safety, and environmental impacts of the project. I encourage you to let these processes proceed as intended and to not let politics drive the decisions on the development and operation of our nation’s vital energy infrastructure,” he concluded.
The Keystone XL pipeline was proposed in 2008 but in November 2015 the Obama administration tried to kill the 1,200-mile pipeline project, which would pump 35 million gallons of crude oil each day from Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska. President Donald Trump revived the project under his administration, only for President Joe Biden to revoke its permit on the first day of his presidency.
Biden’s decision to cancel the project has drawn criticism from labor unions that represent thousands of now-unemployed pipeline workers. TC Energy Corporation, the Canadian firm that wanted to build the Keystone XL pipeline, estimates that 11,000 jobs will be lost because of Biden’s actions.