Energy & Environment

Group of GOP senators seeks to block Biden moves on Paris, Keystone

Some Western Republicans have launched a longshot bid to block President Biden’s executive orders to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and revoking the permit for the Keystone pipeline.

The lawmakers, many from big energy-producing states, plan to introduce two pieces of legislation that would give Congress a say in the decisions.

“I urge President Biden to do what the Obama administration refused to do and submit the Paris Agreement to the Senate for consideration as required under the Constitution,” Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) said in a release, calling the agreement “a poorly negotiated, fatally flawed treaty that represents a bad deal for American families everywhere.”

The executive order signed by Biden, the third of 17 that he signed on his first day in office, will formally recommit the U.S. to the global agreement in 30 days, ending the U.S. status as the only country in the world not participating in the deal.

He also put forth an order that revoked a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline that allowed it to cross the U.S.-Canada border and also carried out other environmental actions. 

In press releases on Thursday, the Republican lawmakers said they intended to introduce a resolution calling on Biden to submit the Paris Climate Agreement to Congress for approval before rejoining.  

The lawmakers said they would introduce a bill authorizing the continued construction of the controversial pipeline. 

“President Biden’s executive order will rob both American and Canadian workers of good-paying jobs,” said Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), who is the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “President Biden’s actions will not end our need for oil from our strongest ally, Canada. Instead, it will cost jobs, result in more shipments of oil by rail and make America even more vulnerable to OPEC and foreign adversaries, like Russia.” 

Sens. Mike Crapo (Idaho), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Roger Marshall (Kan.) and Barrasso all signed on to both pieces of legislation.

Each piece of legislation would face an uphill battle in the Democratically-controlled chamber, where Vice President Harris will serve as the key tie-breaker vote.

Former President Obama angered lawmakers in 2016 when he joined the deal without securing Senate approval, something Daines and others argue violates Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution which calls for a two-thirds vote from the upper chamber when entering into treaties.

But the Paris deal allowed countries to set their own commitments to the deal, rather than enter into a more formal agreement, something the Obama administration viewed as allowing the U.S. to join the deal without Senate approval.

While the deal was opposed by many Republicans, some Western Republicans had advised former President Trump not to withdraw from the accord.

“I have always thought rejoining the Accord could be a success and a unifying moment if the President and his team do it the right way. Abandoning our leadership on the world stage only benefits our competitors, though being on the world stage and just caving to them is even worse,” Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said in a statement.

“If President Biden reworks our pledge then defends American interests, protects taxpayer dollars, and focuses on bipartisan areas of agreement like nuclear energy or carbon capture utilization and storage, it will prove to be a prudent move that can garner the support of the American people,” he added. 

Tags Donald Trump executive orders Jerry Moran John Barrasso Kevin Cramer Keystone Pipeline Keystone XL pipeline North Dakota paris climate accord Roger Marshall Steve Daines

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