- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Sen. Jon Tester, Montana Democrat, has urged President Biden to reconsider his decision to rescind the Keystone XL cross-border pipeline permit, citing the project’s economic benefits in a break with the Democratic White House.

Mr. Tester, a longtime supporter of the U.S.-Canadian oil pipeline, said the project nixed by the president “has the potential to support thousands of good-paying jobs, increase tax revenue into local communities, and support a safer, more efficient alternative to transporting fossil fuel by truck or railroad.”

“The completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline would be a powerful economic driver for Montana,” said Mr. Tester in a letter to Mr. Biden Tuesday. “I continue to support this project as long it is built to the highest safety standards, uses American steel, respects private property rights, and includes robust consultation with Tribes.”

Mr. Tester‘s letter comes with Democrats in oil-and-gas state feeling the political heat over Mr. Biden‘s day-one cancelation of the 1,179-mile pipeline extension, which runs from Alberta through eastern Montana to Steele City, Nebraska.

Republicans, including Montana Sen. Steve Daines, immediately decried Mr. Biden‘s Jan. 20 decision, pointing out that killing the project is expected to cost 11,000 jobs and more than $1.6 billion in wages even as the economy struggles to recover from the pandemic.

Mr. Tester is the rare Senate Democrat who has long supported completing the pipeline, a short list that includes Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, who has yet to comment publicly on the decision to rescind the permit approved by then-President Trump in 2017.

Both Mr. Tester and Mr. Manchin voted in favor of the pipeline in a 2015 Senate action.

Other than trying to change Mr. Biden‘s mind, lawmakers have few options in restoring the project, although House Republicans introduced a bill Tuesday to reauthorize Keystone XL and eliminate the requirement for a presidential cross-border permit.

Mr. Biden‘s order came as part of his ambitious climate agenda aimed at dramatically reducing greenhouse gases in pursuit of achieving net-zero U.S. emissions by 2050 to combat the “climate crisis.”

The Montana Democrat emphasized that he supports efforts to address global warming, but that one pipeline will have little impact on the climate.

“I believe in climate change, but I also think that this one pipeline isn’t going to turn our climate around and it’s not going to make it a markedly worse situation,” Mr. Tester said Tuesday on CNN.

In his letter, Mr. Tester argued that the adjustments could be made to “provide even stronger protections for people and clean water, while still supporting jobs and economic development along the pipeline route.”

TC Energy has already laid off about 1,000 U.S. and Canadian workers on the $8 billion project, which sought to deliver up to 800,000 gallons of crude per day from the Alberta oil sands to Gulf of Mexico refineries.

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