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‘Real-world costs are devastating’: 14 AGs threaten legal action over Keystone pipeline cancellation

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Fourteen GOP state attorneys general decried President Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline in a letter on Tuesday, urging the president to reconsider and warning that they are considering legal action if that doesn’t happen.

“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,” Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen wrote in a letter to the Biden administration. Knudsen is the author of the letter and is leading the coalition of 13 other state AGs who co-signed it.


“We write with alarm regarding your unilateral and rushed decision to revoke the 2019 Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL pipeline,” the letter stated. “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 real-world costs are devastating,” the letter continued, pointing out that Biden’s actions will cost thousands of jobs that also include union labor. The mandate will also potentially devastate local businesses and governments financially.

The Biden White House is vaguely stating that they intend to push for job creation and will consider the implications of canceling the pipeline.

“The Biden-Harris administration has proposed transformative investments in infrastructure that will create millions of good union jobs here in America, boost the U.S. economy, and advance our climate and clean energy goals,” announced Assistant Press Secretary Vedant Patel.

That did not placate the AGs. “It’s bad enough for the government to pick winners and losers in the marketplace, but much worse when the winners are aspirational. Aspirations don’t put food on the table, or pay the phone bill, or put kids through college. Jobs do, and you eliminated thousands of them with the stroke of a pen.”

Montana will be hard-hit by Biden’s decision. It could reportedly cost the state $58 million in annual tax revenue, Knudsen estimated. That would not only impact jobs and families, but schools and public services as well.

“It is not too much to ask that the President give due consideration to the destructive consequences his decisions impose on our – and his – constituents,” the letter implored. “We are therefore deeply concerned that your unilateral approach, which failed to consider costs and reliance interests, sets a dangerous precedent for other permits and projects that affect all our states.”

The other co-signers on the letter include Ken Paxton of Texas, Alan Wilson of South Carolina, Jason Ravnsborg of South Dakota and Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia as well as Steve Marshall of Alabama, Leslie Rutledge of Arkansas, Christopher Carr of Georgia, Indiana’s Todd Rokita, Derek Schmidt of Kansas, Jeff Landry of Louisiana, Lynn Fitch of Mississippi, Missouri’s Eric Schmitt  and Wayne Stenehjem of North Dakota.

“We cannot ‘Build Back Better’ by reflexively tearing down,” the letter stated in an apparent mockery of Biden’s campaign slogan.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), who heads the U.S. Senate energy committee, is reportedly requesting Biden reverse his cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline. Manchin claims the pipeline provides well-paying union jobs and that it is safer than transporting oil using railways and trucks, according to Reuters.

“Pipelines continue to be the safest mode to transport our oil and natural gas resources and they support thousands of high-paying, American union jobs,” Manchin stated.

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