Update: 1 One hour before Published: 2 hours ago
On President Joe Biden’s first day in office, he signed an executive order canceling the Keystone XL pipeline. It sent an unequivocal message to the Green Coalition who funded and supported his campaign that he stood with them and their causes. Never mind the 11,000 American workers who could have benefited from those construction jobs. They were not even considered in the pursuit of a rigid and uncompromising ideology. Environmentalists cheered. Those who missed jobs? Not really.
If only it ended there. Opposition to pipelines has become a rallying cry for the left. They have protested the Dakota Access Pipeline almost continuously since 2016, fighting in court and spending millions on ad campaigns to stop the delivery of 570,000 barrels a day from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline fell victim to these tactics, as endless lawsuits ultimately led Duke Energy to terminate the project in 2020. With energy prices soaring in New England this winter, there are no doubt families who would prefer to burn domestic natural gas. instead of relying on imported supplies at higher prices from countries that don’t have America’s best interests at heart.
Across the country, activists continue to target pipelines. There’s environmental outrage over a planned Line 3 pipeline expansion in Wisconsin, as well as protests — and even illegal vandalism and tampering — decrying the continued operation of the Line 5 pipeline. in neighboring Michigan. When the Colonial Pipeline fell victim to a cyberattack last spring, environmentalists took advantage of the national security crisis to push their political agenda. Never mind the gas lines stretching around city blocks or the commuters whose daily lives have been affected.
Yet amid the continuing uncertainty between Ukraine and Russia, an interesting trend has developed. The same groups that are so vocal in their opposition to national gas pipelines have been silent on Vladimir Putin’s nearly completed Nord Stream 2 project that would transport natural gas from the Kremlin to Germany and other European countries.
Like Neville Chamberlain before him, Biden’s willingness to sit idly by gives a geopolitical foe a major strategic advantage. Russia’s influence in the region continues to grow, as it is massing troops on the Ukrainian border and threatening military action that Biden last week called a “minor incursion.”
As weak as Biden’s leadership may be, the hypocrisy shown by the eco-left with NordStream 2 is staggering. The same groups, ideologues and opinion leaders who criticize the continued domestic production of fossil fuels – and the use of pipelines to get them to refineries – have been silent on the massive pipeline that is to deliver LNG from Russia to Germany.
President Biden sent shockwaves around the world when he waived previously imposed sanctions on Nord Stream 2 last May. The fallout from that decision — which marked a reversal of congressional and executive branch actions, as well as his own opposition to the project as vice president — continues to be a major source of political fallout. The Afghanistan fiasco dominated foreign policy headlines last year, but the Nord Stream 2 decision was the first sign that this administration was pursuing a disastrous foreign policy agenda.
This month, US senators who regularly condemn traditional energy sources as contributing to the “existential threat” of climate change had the opportunity to vote to sanction Nord Stream 2. Afraid of contradicting their president’s line and their party, no hardliners, climate-centric members voted that way. The senses. Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan did, however, and for that they are to be commended.
Ultimately, the eco-left can’t have butter and butter’s money on the pipelines. Embracing ultra-aggressive activity against US projects and a “backdoor” approach to international projects sends a confusing message to the public about the real reasons for their outrage. Healthy debate on the pressing issues of the day is good for our society and our discourse. But when the facts are ignored or altered to fit a political agenda, the American people, thankfully, see through the shenanigans.
Rick Whitbeck is the Alaska State Director of Power The Future, a national nonprofit that champions American energy jobs. He can be contacted at [email protected] and on Twitter @PTFAlaska.
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