Critical U.S. Pipelines Remain Stopped, As Russian Pipelines Are Greenlighted
In light of President Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s meeting recently, it was clear the two leaders continue to remain on opposing sides of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline. During their joint press conference, President Biden said, “My view on Nord Stream 2 has been known for some time. Good friends can disagree, but by the time I became president, it was 90 percent completed and imposing sanctions did not seem to make any sense.”
In May, the Biden administration announced plans to waive American economic sanctions on the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline, allowing the Russian energy project to move forward, a decision his own Secretary of State has criticized. Unfortunately, the administration’s decisions have a wider impact than domestic jobs. They also send a clear, worrisome message to our geostrategic friends and rivals.
Last month, Canada’s TC Energy announced plans to officially pull the plug on the Keystone XL pipeline. This move follows President Joe Biden’s devastating decision earlier this year to cancel its construction, subsequently killing 11,000 American jobs. Currently, thousands of those workers remain unemployed, with workers’ unions rendered impotent. Families looking forward to good paying jobs have been left high and dry. Businesses and stores which have invested in anticipated revitalized communities have been left holding the bag.
While both pipelines are designed to transport energy, Nord Stream 2 and Keystone XL are vastly different projects. Once completed, Nord Stream 2, which has bipartisan opposition in the U.S., will cut off existing gas pipelines through Ukraine, resulting in Europe’s further dependence on Russian energy, resulting in is less energy security across Europe. Russia has weaponized natural gas for years by restricting the resource to other countries as a means of geopolitical leverage.
In contrast, the Keystone pipeline would have helped President Biden achieve many of the climate goals that he vociferously touts in his speeches. Keystone XL pipeline project would have generated net-zero carbon emissions and provided a more environmentally sustainable method for transporting natural gas, compared to rail or truck, as well as support thousands of jobs while boosting local economies throughout the country.
In light of the recent cyber attack that caused the Colonial Pipeline shutdown on the American east coast, it is abundantly clear our country needs more energy infrastructure, not less. The Colonial Pipeline, which transports energy to Southeastern states, was forced to shut down approximately 5,500 miles of pipeline in the U.S. According to a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, “The Biden Administration should be putting money into shoring up cyber vulnerabilities, but instead it’s using the “infrastructure” label to remake the energy economy, squeeze fossil fuels, and make the grid more vulnerable, not less.”
As the former Governor of Virginia, I saw firsthand the impact on my state of gasoline shortages and lines at the pump not seen since the 1970s. Our country also saw a spike in gas prices, which is not sustainable for any average American trying to make ends meet. As Governor I saw many young people forced to work two jobs, just to buy fuel to take care of their families. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which was abandoned last year due to legal challenges and construction delays, would have run through Virginia and provided backup energy sources during the Colonial shutdown, not to mention jobs and an economic boost to states along the East Coast.
It appears President Biden has failed to listen to his own Cabinet including Secretaries Granholm and Buttigieg on the issue of natural gas and acknowledge the consequences of his attack on the U.S. energy industry, while favoring foreign regimes who oppose American strength and safety of our citizens. These misguided policies must be reexamined, and hopefully reversed as a result of bipartisan discussions, as our national security and energy security are at risk.
Mr. President, stop punishing American industry and workers. Stop weakening our national energy assets, while helping America’s adversaries meet their energy goals abroad.
James S. “Jim” Gilmore III served as U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna, Austria, from 2019 to 2021. He served as governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002.