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Montana attorney general asks Biden to reverse Keystone decision

keystone pipeline construction.jpg
Posted at 11:28 AM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 13:28:47-05

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen was among 14 attorneys general from across the country to call on President Joe Biden to reconsider his decision to revoke the Keystone XL Pipeline's presidential permit.

The AGs' letter points out the harm of Biden’s decision, negating thousands of jobs and lost economic activity and opportunity.

In Montana for instance, Knudsen wrote, "killing Keystone XL will likely cost the state approximately $58 million in annual tax revenue."

Knudsen points out that some Montana counties stand to lose their biggest property taxpayer.

"The loss of Keystone XL’s economic activity and tax revenues are especially devastating as five of the six impacted counties are designated high-poverty areas," Knudsen said.

The Keystone XL pipeline would run 285 miles through Montana crossing six counties. If completed, the pipeline would transport up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta to Nebraska, then eventually on to Gulf Coast refineries.

Biden's decision to cancel developer TC Energy's presidential permit for the Keystone XL was among his first acts as president. In response, TC Energy, the Canadian company proposing the pipeline, has halted all work along the proposed route.

TC Energy's first quarter plans this year had involved expanding its workforce from 3,000 to 15,000 employees, as work was to get underway on 17 pump stations along the pipeline route.

In its letter Tuesday, the coalition of 14 attorneys general also advised the president to expect a legal challenge if he did not reverse course.

"Please be aware that the states are reviewing available legal options to protect our residents and sovereign interests. In the meantime, we urge you to reconsider your decision to impose crippling economic injuries on states, communities, families, and workers across the country,” Knudsen and the attorneys general wrote.

Also urging President Biden to reconsider his decision against the Keystone XL is West Virgina Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

According to The Hill online newspaper, Manchin sent a letter to the president Tuesday, arguing that pipelines are the “safest mode to transport our oil and natural gas resources and they support thousands of high-paying, American union jobs.”

Manchin urged Biden to take into account the potential impacts of any further action to safety, jobs, and energy security.