Thousands of North Dakotans rely on jobs supported by the energy industry to provide for their families. This industry is driven by people who live in Bakken cities like Watford City and Williston, coal country towns like Beulah and Washburn, and thousands of others in Bismarck, Minot, and even Fargo, just to name a few.
During his first two weeks in office, President Biden signed an unprecedented 42 executive actions, many of which are a direct assault on thousands of jobs in North Dakota’s oil and gas industry. Specifically, he rescinded a key permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline and implemented a one-year moratorium on new energy leasing on all federal lands. If the policies he chose to enact during his first few days in office are any indication of his priorities for the next four years, it is clear Biden will side with the radical climate activists over the needs of millions of Americans whose jobs will be jeopardized by more reckless federal overreach. North Dakota is an agriculture and energy producing state, and we rely on infrastructure to transport our commodities across the country and the world. Any attack on critical infrastructure is a threat to our state’s ability to compete on a global scale.
The Keystone XL Pipeline was first proposed more than 13 years ago to transport oil from Canada, one of our closest allies, to refineries in the United States. The construction and operation of this pipeline would create more than 11,000 jobs, decrease our reliance on energy from hostile foreign counties, and bolster our national security. Biden killed this project, which has undergone extensive environmental reviews and received all necessary permits from numerous federal and state agencies. Beyond the immediate effect of the project being stopped, the revocation of this permit will make energy infrastructure developers apprehensive about moving forward with other projects that bring millions of dollars of investment to states like North Dakota.
Make no mistake, this is not just about one pipeline. Whether it is the Dakota Access Pipeline, Line 3 Pipeline in Minnesota, Line 5 Pipeline in Michigan, or the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in the eastern part of the country, fossil fuel opponents have waged a full assault on energy infrastructure. Climate activists have determined that they can damage the influence of energy producing states like North Dakota by attacking national infrastructure, which will grind our economy to a halt. The attacks on projects such as the Keystone XL and DAPL are the new normal and we can expect them on every single energy infrastructure project.
President Biden’s decisions will devastate North Dakota’s energy industry. Our economy and way of life are at stake. North Dakota and other energy producing states need to do everything in our power to challenge these executive actions and fight for policies that help move our nation forward.
Kelly Armstrong, a Republican, represents North Dakota in the United States House of Representatives.