Cassidy speaks out against Keystone shutdown, cites St. Charles Parish

Sen. Bill Cassidy (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Senator Bill Cassidy is among those leading a group of more than 20 Republican senators who aim to meet with President Joe Biden and discuss their criticisms of Biden’s decision to end the Keystone XL pipeline project.

In a recent conference call with reporters, Cassidy focused on the damage the group believes the loss of the project will have on American people – “11-thousand people will be out of a job,” Cassidy said.

He noted St. Charles Parish and its strong industrial infrastructure when making his case.

“That oil (from the pipeline) ends up in St. Charles Parish, and they have a big build out to receive that product,” Cassidy said. “We have the sophistication to refine that oil in an environmental-sensitive way.”

In addition to the Keystone stoppage, Biden announced in late January he was enacting a 60 day ban on new oil and gas drilling permits and leased for federal lands and waters, including the Gulf of Mexico. There has been speculation that the moratorium could be extended beyond that at some point. The measure is intended to review the impact of oil and gas drilling on the environment and climate.

A projection by the American Petroleum Institute indicates an extended drilling ban would impact the Gulf Coast harshly – a cost of 48,000 job losses in Louisiana alone by 2022.

“It’s callous and destructive,” said Cassidy.

The Keystone pipeline was projected to carry oil nearly 1,200 miles from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska en route to an existing pipeline. It was to have the capacity to carry 830,000 barrels of oil each day and the pipeline would cover 1,179 miles in total. In short, the project would boost the flow of oil from Canada, which through the existing Keystone pipeline already sends 550,000 barrels of oil per day to the U.S.

But the plan has been under fire and heavy criticism by environmentalists, who believe the project would have significantly adverse effects on the environment. It also has had its critics within the U.S. government. The Canadian National Energy Board approved the project more than a decade ago, in 2010, but then-President Barack Obama declined to issue the presidential permit needed to move the project forward; the EPA advised he not approve the project.  Donald Trump quickly reversed course on that after succeeding Obama as President, citing his belief it would create needed jobs for workers throughout the country – he estimated it would create 28,000 construction jobs.

Biden’s decision has reversed the country’s course on the issue once again, and like the pipeline itself that decision has been controversial as well – and not just in the U.S.  Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed disappointment in Biden’s order, another voice alongside the Republican senators aiming to meet with Biden.

“(Biden) has put a target on energy jobs,” Cassidy said. “That’s going to affect a lot of employment in Louisiana.”

On Monday, Biden did meet with Cassidy among other senators at the White House, but the meeting was to address the status of the COVID-19 stimulus plan.


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1 Comment

  1. The Keystone XL pipeline had to be stopped, because a toxic bitumen spill down into the Ogallala Aquifer would poison the drinking water for millions, which is worse than a weapon of mass destruction and would destroy the agriculture of the Great Plains states.

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