Manchin urges Biden to reverse on Keystone pipeline

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill MORE (D-W.Va.) is urging President BidenJoe BidenManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill MORE to reverse course on the Keystone XL pipeline, for which the president revoked a key permit on his first day in office. 

In a new letter to the president sent Tuesday, Manchin argued that pipelines are the “safest mode to transport our oil and natural gas resources and they support thousands of high-paying, American union jobs.”

“I encourage you to reconsider your decision to revoke the cross-border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and take into account the potential impacts of any further action to safety, jobs, and energy security,” he added. 

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Republicans have also pushed back on the move to revoke the pipeline’s border crossing permit, but in recent days, Biden has also heard criticism from allies. 

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka recently said that he wished the president hadn’t canceled the permit on his first day in office and instead paired it with an announcement about job creation.

Manchin, alongside Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocrats wrangle to keep climate priorities in spending bill  On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Senators huddle on path forward for SALT deduction in spending bill MORE (D-Mont.), joined Republicans on a budget resolution amendment expressing support for the pipeline. However, Democrats later approved a final budget resolution that did not include Keystone language.

Environmentalists have cheered the pipeline permit’s revocation, arguing that it brought in Canadian oil produced from carbon-intensive tar sands.

And Biden said in an executive order when he was revoking the permit that the project “disserves" the U.S. national interest and that “leaving the Keystone XL pipeline permit in place would not be consistent with my Administration's economic and climate imperatives."

Manchin will be a key Democrat going forward on energy issues, as he’s now the chairman of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He’s also the caucus’s most moderate member, and could be a crucial deciding vote on certain issues. 

However, it’s unlikely that legislation that would reinstate the pipeline’s permit would gain traction among both the Senate’s Democratic leaders and the House.

Updated at 7:20 p.m.