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Biden begins energy plans by canceling Keystone XL pipeline

Jackie Whetzel
By Jackie Whetzel February 8th, 2021
4 min read
For business

Biden cancelled the Keystone pipeline on his first day in office.

President Joe Biden has made his environmental plans clear as he took office. His first step was to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline. He wants to implement a “clean energy revolution and environmental justice. His plans include investing heavily in renewable energy sources and electric cars.

The president’s goal is to transition the U.S. to 100 percent renewable energy for electricity generation by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050. He also wants the U.S. to serve as a leader in addressing the world’s climate emergency.

The new president wasn’t exaggerating his plans on the campaign trail either. On his first day in office, he rejoined the Paris Climate Accord. President Biden also revoked a crucial permit on the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline. This pipeline would carry approximately 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Albert to the Texas Gulf Coast.

Biden puts the breaks on Keystone XL pipeline on first day in office

“The Permit is hereby revoked,” the executive order wrote. “Leaving the Keystone XL pipeline permit in place would not be consistent with my Administration’s economic and climate imperatives,” said Biden.

Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL permit and his plan to weaken tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry, halt new federal drilling permits and require climate risk disclosures for some companies, will undoubtedly have an effect on states heavily invested in the oil and gas industry – such as Texas.

Texas Democrats ask Biden to withdraw energy plans that could hurt jurisdiction

Some Texas leaders are already speaking out against some of Biden’s plans. Four Texas Democrats say Biden’s executive order to pause oil and gas leases on federal land and waters needs to go.

Democratic Representatives Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen, Henry Cuellar of Laredo, Lizzie Pannill Fletcher of Houston, and Marc Veasey of Fort Worth called the order “far-reaching.” They asked that he withdraw it immediately.

The Texas representatives said the ban on “responsible” energy leasing would destroy jobs and hurt America’s gross domestic product. They also claim it would increase the country’s reliance on crude imports from foreign countries and cost America revenue.

“Texas … has been ravaged by the coronavirus and this recent Executive Order will hurt an already suffering community. Therefore, I urge the Biden administration to rescind this federal order and reevaluate the impact of this measure with input from relevant stakeholders and experts,” said Gonzalez in a news release published by the Texas Tribune.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott says he will defend oil and gas industry

Texas Governor Greg Abbott spoke out about his plans to defend his state’s oil and gas industry. “Texas is going to protect the oil and gas industry from any type of hostile attack launched from Washington DC,” said Abbott.

“By the authority invested in me as governor by the constitutional laws of the state of Texas, direct every state agency to use all lawful powers and tools to challenge any federal action that threatens the continued strength, vitality, and independence of the energy industry,” Abbott continued.

Will Biden impose stricter methane regulations?

Methane is one main component of natural gas that is often found leaking from oil and gas wells and pipelines. Methane regulations are an area that may have a significant impact on many independent producers in the oil and gas industry.

Methane was responsible for 10 percent of America’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The oil and gas industry generated approximately 30 percent of these emissions.

Former President Obama had tougher laws on inspecting oil and gas operations for methane leaks than former President Trump (who relaxed many Obama-era regulations).

Some industry executives worry Biden will implement stricter rules than both of his predecessors by extending methane regulations to older “stripper” wells,” which could put independent producers out of business.

Environmentalist says the EPA is no longer giving out “free passes to pollute”

“Texas’ Permian Basin is one of the largest sources of methane emissions in the world,” said Environment Texas Advocate Emma Pabst in a story by the Galveston Daily News. “Reinstituting these rules will have a significant impact on our state’s climate and environment. Requiring oil and gas companies to address methane leaks along the production line sends a clear message that our Environmental Protection Agency is no longer giving out free passes to pollute.”

In the same article, Dan Naatz of the Independent Petroleum Association of America said, “We are very concerned about, especially for our members, our independent producers, that if there’s a heavy Washington-bound approach that handcuffs the industry from finding solutions to this methane question, that would be a mistake.”

Texas produces 41 percent of America’s crude oil output and 23 percent of its natural gas – more than any other state. Oil and gas make up 30 to 35 percent of Texas’s gross state product.


Jackie Whetzel is a reporter who has written articles on energy, government, business, economic development, and education.  Her work has been featured in newspapers across the country. You can find her on Instagram.