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Arkansas lawmakers react to President Biden revoking Keystone XL pipeline permit

Some Arkansas lawmakers are calling the move counterproductive to do during the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Credit: CBS

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Some Arkansas lawmakers are showing their displeasures with President Biden revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline during his first day in office.  

Construction for the Keystone XL pipeline was halted on Wednesday (Jan. 20). The 1,700-mile (2,735-kilometer) pipeline was planned to carry roughly 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta, Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. 

“Leaving the Keystone XL pipeline permit in place would not be consistent with my Administration’s economic and climate imperatives," President Biden said. 

Arkansas Business reports that ditching the Keystone XL pipeline will have an impact on jobs in Arkansas. Welspun Tubular LLC of Little Rock was contracted to build 1 million feet of 36-inch pipe for the pipeline. 

U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) both took to social media to speak out against the move by the Biden administration. 

"The Biden Administration’s cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline will eliminate thousands of jobs and creates uncertainty — the effects of which are already being felt in Arkansas. That’s the last thing our economy needs right now and it’s the wrong decision," Senator John Boozman said. 

"The Biden administration is already killing jobs in Arkansas—in the middle of a pandemic—to appease far-left environmental groups. This isn’t what America needs right now," Senator Tom Cotton said.

Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack also said that threatening American jobs is not something we should be doing during the middle of the pandemic. 

"President Biden called for unity and finding common ground to address the immediate challenges before us. His first executive orders don’t move us in that direction—instead they threaten American jobs, energy independence, and security. This is not the right way forward," Rep. Steve Womack said on Twitter.  

First proposed in 2008, the pipeline has become emblematic of the tensions between economic development and curbing the fossil fuel emissions that are causing climate change. The Obama administration rejected it, but President Donald Trump revived it and has been a strong supporter. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised Keystone XL as a top priority when he spoke with Biden in a phone call in November. The project is meant to expand critical oil exports for Canada, which has the third-largest oil reserves in the world and is America’s number one source of foreign oil.

Between revoking the Keystone XL permit and reentering the Paris Climate Agreement, President Biden is showing his intentions to take a hard stance in the fight against climate issues. 

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