AG Jeff Landry Suing Biden Administration Over Keystone Pipeline

Photo by Shannon Patrick, CC BY 2.0

Attorney General Jeff Landry filed suit against the Biden administration to protect the construction and operation of the Keystone pipeline. Landry joined Louisiana to a 21-state coalition petitioning to have courts in the Southern District of Texas invalidate Biden’s executive order canceling the project.

“In the blink of an eye and through executive fiat, the Biden Administration unleashed a flood of action designed to destroy our oil and gas industry and thousands of jobs,” Landry said. “The Biden order not only violates federal law and Constitutional safeguards; but it also threatens jobs, our state and local economies, and even the environment he purportedly wants to protect. It should concern every person that the price of gas started going up the day he picked up his pen and began threatening financial stability for the hard-working people of Louisiana.”

According to experts, it isn’t the cancellation of the pipeline that has led to higher gas prices, but supply and demand. During the recent winter storm affecting much of the midwest and Texas, refineries went offline, slowing production just as demand was beginning to rise. Oil prices have also rallied due to increased demand as states across the US and countries across the globe begin to ease COVID-19 travel restrictions.

“The quicker the affected refineries are able to come back online, the better, and perhaps less painful for motorists than if they remain out of service even longer,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Oil prices have continued to rally as global oil demand recovers from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the extreme cold weather shutting refineries down, us motorists just can’t seem to catch a break. We probably won’t see much, if any relief, anytime soon.”

Several Louisiana legislators, including Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, have argued that canceling the pipeline will hurt jobs in Louisiana. However, according to a report by NPR, none of the 42,000 jobs created nationally by the pipeline were expected to be in Louisiana.

“I don’t think it goes through that state,” said Cornell University Sean Sweeny. Sweeny co-authored a 2012 report questioning the justifications for the pipeline. “This is less about jobs and numbers than it is advancing the fossil fuel industry’s agenda.”

According to the State Department, the 42,100 jobs created by the Keystone Pipeline project would only last one year. The pipeline was expected to create only 35 permanent jobs.

“Louisiana has a big oil and gas sector. It is conceivable that some of those pipeline workers could come from Louisiana,” said Ian Goodman, an energy industry consultant who co-authored the Cornell report with Sweeny. “We’re talking about tiny numbers here. … A rounding-off error. You’re not going to notice it.”

But to Landry, the location of the jobs (or who is hired for them) matters less than protecting oil and gas industry interests.

“Whether off Louisiana’s coast or in Montana’s shale fields, drilling equals jobs,” Landry said. “I will continue to do all that I can to defend those jobs and the Constitution from abusive federal overreach.”

The Keystone pipeline would have transported 830,000 barrels of crude oil each day from Canada to refineries in east Texas. According to the State Department report, the pipeline would not result in greater oil sand production. In addition, the pipeline thus far has been prone to leaks:

The lawsuit is being led by the attorneys general of Texas and Montana and is supported by Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

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