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Cheney: Biden’s blocking of Keystone XL pipeline ‘will eliminate jobs, increase the cost of energy’

Rep. Liz Cheney (Shutterstock)

UPDATE: Acting Interior Secretary Scott de la Vega signed an order Wednesday suspending new oil and gas leasing and drilling for 60 days, according to the Associated Press. This story has been updated.

CASPER, Wyo. — President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday that revokes the Keystone XL oil pipeline permit.

Wyoming’s U.S. Representative Liz Cheney said on Wednesday that the decision “will eliminate jobs, increase the cost of energy, and embolden our adversaries.”

Biden also signed orders that direct the United States to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and stop funding for construction of the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Cheney voiced criticism of these decisions.

“Today’s inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris marks an important moment for us to come together as Americans to combat the unprecedented crises we face,” she said. “The Executive Orders President Biden signed today unfortunately don’t move us in that direction.”

Cheney said that blocking funding for “important border security enhancements, including the continued construction of the wall” could lead to increased illegal immigration.

“We face significant challenges that require bipartisan responses,” Cheney said. “Today’s Executive Orders reverse important policies and impose significant economic cost that will imperil our recovery.”

Petroleum Association of Wyoming Communications Director Ryan McConnaughey commented on Biden’s Keystone XL Pipeline decision on Thursday.

“Canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline is a step in the wrong direction for economic recovery, environmental sustainability and safety,” he said. “Pipelines are the safest and most efficient means of transporting petroleum products across the country.”

“For Wyoming producers, access to pipelines is essential for getting product to market as efficiently as possible given the distance Wyoming natural gas and oil must be transported.”

Governor Mark Gordon, the Petroleum Association of Wyoming and the Western Energy Alliance have all expressed concern about the Biden administration’s possible approach to oil and gas development policy.

In addition to revoking the Keystone XL Pipeline permit, Biden signed executive orders which reverse the Trump administration’s rollback of vehicle emissions standards and temporarily halt oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Biden campaign has also contemplated a ban on oil and gas development on public lands.

Acting Interior Secretary Scott de la Vega signed an order Wednesday suspending new oil and gas leasing and drilling for 60 days, according to the Associated Press

The the Petroleum Association of Wyoming and the Western Energy Alliance said in a press release on Wednesday that a ban on oil and gas development on public lands could cost the economy $670 billion over 20 years.

“Over the next four years, the human cost of fulfilling Biden’s campaign pledge would be an average of 72,818 fewer jobs annually,” the release states. “Lost wages would total $19.6 billion, economic activity would decline $43.8 billion, and tax revenues would drop $10.8 billion by the end of Biden’s first term in Alaska, California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.”

“By 2040, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would decline by $670.5 billion and average annual job losses would exceed 351,000 across the West.”

Wyoming could lose $138.3 billion in gross domestic product over the next 20 years if the proposed ban is implemented, according to the press release, which is based on a Wyoming Energy Authority study conducted by University of Wyoming Professor Tim Considine.

The release adds that “between 2021 and 2024, a drilling ban would eliminate:

  • 18,228 jobs on average each year
  • $10.6 billion in oil and natural gas investments
  • production valued at $3.8 billion
  • $2.1 billion in tax revenue to the state
  • $10.3 billion in GDP
  • $4.7 billion in wages

Western Energy Alliance President Kathleen Sgamma said that the ban “would be devastating to the economies of western states by eliminating thousands of jobs just as Americans are struggling to recover from the pandemic.”

She added that she thinks Biden is “calculating that he won’t pay a political price while satisfying radical climate activists, but he would be sacrificing the livelihoods of thousands of westerners throughout many sectors of the economy.”

Sgamma said that if Biden follows through with the oil and gas ban, the Western Energy Alliance “will be in court within hours.”

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