In a letter sent to President Joe Biden, more than 90 senators lawmakers from the state of Montana have asked him to lift the block imposed on the Keystone XL pipeline project that was in its last phase of construction.
In the letter, the Montana senators argue that more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil would flow daily through the Keystone XL project if Biden were to allow the project to be completed.
The Keystone XL is a pipeline network of more than 2,900 miles that connects oil fields in the province of Alberta, Canada, with oil refineries in the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico in the United States.
The Montana lawmakers also reminded Biden that currently, “less than 2% of American vehicles are electric and that 5.5 million American homes use oil-dependent heating”.
Currently, the United States remains the world’s largest oil consumer, averaging 18 million barrels per day in 2020, consumption that was naturally diminished by mobility restrictions during the pandemic.
The Montana lawmakers highlighted the importance that the completion of this line represents for the state, since according to the legislators, Montana would receive a revenue of $80 million in taxes with the operation of the pipeline network. The revenue would go to stimulate the state’s economy as well as help the rural school system, which “is in desperate need.”
With the closure of the Keystone XL project, hundreds of rural Montana jobs were also doomed, as the lawmakers emphasized in the letter, “The pipeline was doing more than creating jobs and revenue for Montana, it was bringing otherwise forgotten small towns back to life.”
In addition, the operation of the Keystone XL line would bring nearly 10,000 jobs throughout the United States and 2,800 more in Canada. On the other hand, the construction of the pipeline supported about 60,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The lawmakers reminded Biden that the company responsible for the project, TC Energy, has committed to working with zero carbon emissions and hiring labor at competitive wages.
TC Energy also said it would invest more than $1.7 billion in an operating system powered by solar and wind energy. In addition, it committed to hiring unionized personnel in the operation of the Keystone XL project.
Environmentalists accuse the project of facilitating CO2 emissions as a consequence of Canadian extraction practices, however, the Canadian government has reduced these emissions by 30% since 1990 and Canada continues to export 98% of its oil to the United States.
With all the arguments on the table, the Montana Senate told the president of the United States that decisions regarding the Keystone XL project are no longer technical because “It now appears that every decision is politically motivated.”
“As Montana’s elected leaders, we must oppose the cancellation of the Keystone XL project and stand with Montana’s energy producers, working people and rural communities (…) We must fight for Montana’s future and the good-paying jobs that will make the future brighter,” concluded members of the Montana state legislature in the missive.