‘Congress needs to reassert itself’ Sen. Cassidy, Republicans look to rein in executive power after Keystone cutoff

Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 3:21 PM CST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Republicans on Capitol Hill are trying to reverse some of President Joe Biden’s early actions aimed at mitigating climate change. One push is coming from Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), who wants to revive the Keystone XL Pipeline project.

“There are a lot of people who don’t understand the impact this will have on working American families,” said Cassidy.

The controversial oil pipeline meant to span from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico is a job creator in Cassidy’s eyes, but a climate killer in the eyes of environmentalists. The Trump administration revived the once-dead project, which paved the way for construction. But on President Joe Biden’s first day in office, he revoked the permitting. Cassidy is pushing legislation that would reverse this order.

“Congress needs to reassert itself as regard to our national energy policy,” said Cassidy.

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Cassidy argues livelihoods are at stake as President Biden tries to cut down on fossil fuels in his green crusade. Cassidy’s legislative efforts are almost certain to fail. With a divided Senate, the numbers do not add up for Republicans to pass his bill. But his hope is to eventually take decisions on energy projects out of the hands of the executive branch.

“You wouldn’t be able to undo that with an executive order rather you’d have to come to Congress to get that permission,” said Cassidy.

While Cassidy fears job loss, proponents of the Keystone cutoff say the push toward cleaner energies will create millions of jobs in the coming years.

“By rejecting Keystone XL on day one, Biden was signaling that he is interested in saying yes to clean energy infrastructure,” said Anthony Swift from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

He says the environmental impact of the pipeline makes it an obvious decision. He argues the Keystone project is not the job creator its supporters make it out to be, and that cleaner energy projects down the road will create more opportunities and more jobs.

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Swift believes this is the end of the project despite the possibility of the next administration coming in and putting Keystone back on track.

“There’s a growing understanding that we are going to try to transition away from dirty energy and the international community is on board,” said Swift.

Cassidy does not expect committees to take up his legislation, thus no votes are expected in the foreseeable future.

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