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GUEST VIEW: Biden’s first move strikes at the heart of American energy and jobs - Odessa American: Guest Columns

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GUEST VIEW: Biden’s first move strikes at the heart of American energy and jobs

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Posted: Wednesday, January 20, 2021 12:24 pm

President Biden is set to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline as one of his first acts in office. He will do so with an executive order, signaling both his intent to bypass Congress and cripple America’s energy industry. Energy security is national security, and I adamantly oppose this action.

Despite Biden’s promises to put science at the center of every decision he makes, canceling the Keystone XL, which has been proven in numerous studies to be environmentally safe, is unscientific. In fact, pipelines are the safest and most secure means to transport oil and natural gas from the site of production to the refinery for processing. Three million miles of pipelines already operate safely across this nation every day, with more than 460,000 pipeline miles in Texas alone. Pipelines keep our economy going, gasoline prices low, and trucks and trains off the roads and tracks—meaning pipelines even make for cleaner air. The Democrats in the Biden/Harris Administration are showing us right off the bat that they will prioritize their anti-energy politics above science, jobs and livelihoods, and above all—common sense.

The Keystone XL should not be controversial. It would safely transport about 800,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada through the United States to the Texas coast, where it can be refined and used domestically or sold to international markets. If completed, the Keystone XL is expected to produce over 14,000 good, well-paying jobs at a time when we desperately need them. Most of those jobs would be in the United States, with the majority staying in Texas.

Affordable and reliable energy is the key to the modern economy. It powers our homes, our smartphones, our churches, our schools, and our ability to bring food and other necessary goods to markets here and overseas. Over the past decade, Texas energy led the way as America achieved energy dominance. This was no accident. Projects such as the Keystone XL make it possible. The Keystone XL is a partnership with Canada that has been years in the making. Canceling it for no sound reason signals that the United States is an unreliable partner to one of our oldest and closest allies. Killing this project would also weaken our national security and increase our dependence of Middle Eastern oil, leaving our ability to heat our homes or fuel our commutes up to the whims and manipulations of authoritarian regimes abroad.

The simple fact is, if this pipeline is not built, Canada’s oil will not stay in the ground. It will be sold to China and others with far less stringent environmental safeguards and standards. Canceling the Keystone XL will actually end up hurting the environment.

Texans in the 11th District sent me to Washington to fight for their livelihoods and our economy, which are both supported by the oil and gas industry. I filed H.R. 218, the Saving America’s Energy Future Act to do just that. This bill prohibits the Biden Administration from pushing politics into energy policy by preventing them from blocking new oil and gas leases and drill permits on federal lands.

In the second week of the new year, the U.S. lost nearly a million jobs as the COVID pandemic continues to ravage the economy and devastate Texas energy. Affordable and reliable energy produced by America and our allies is critical to getting our economy back on its feet. Now is the time to ensure that safe, smart projects such as the Keystone XL get completed. We need energy and jobs, not pandering and politics.

Odessa, TX

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