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14 State AGs Claim Biden’s Keystone Pipeline Decision ‘Will Result in Devastating Damage’

Pipes for Transcanada Corp’s planned Keystone XL oil pipeline at a depot in Gascoyne, N.D., 2017 (Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

A group of 14 state attorneys general sent a letter to President Biden on Tuesday urging him to reconsider his revocation of the Keystone XL pipeline permit, saying the president’s decision will harm thousands of American workers as well as the country at large.

“Your decision will result in devastating damage to many of our states and local communities. Even those states outside the path of the Keystone XL pipeline—indeed all Americans—will suffer serious, detrimental consequences,” the attorneys general wrote in the letter.

On his first day in office, Biden revoked former President Trump’s 2019 presidential permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, construction of which has been halted and resumed repeatedly over several administrations.

The pipeline is planned to span 1,700 miles from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast when completed, transporting about 800,000 barrels of oil per day through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen led the coalition of attorneys general in sending Biden the letter. In Montana, the pipeline will cover 285 miles and six counties.

“In Montana for instance, killing Keystone XL will likely cost the state approximately $58 million in annual tax revenue. Montana will lose the benefits of future easements and leases, and several local counties will lose their single-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 led the attorneys general in writing.

The coalition of attorneys general also warned Biden that the affected states are weighing their legal options to protect their residents in the wake of the administration’s decision.

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

Last month, White House climate czar John Kerry recommended that oil and gas workers should pivot to manufacturing solar panels if their jobs are eliminated as a consequence of the Biden administration’s environmental policies.

Construction of the pipeline would have created about 11,000 U.S. jobs this year, according to the Keystone XL website. Many of the workers are temporary, but 8,000 are union workers.

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