American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2021 - 26

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Federal Update

Biden Acts Quickly On Green Agenda
By Del Torkelson
WASHINGTON-The Biden administration debuted with a flurry of executive
branch moves, including many with implications for U.S. independent oil and
gas producers.
According to press accounts, Biden
issued 25 executive orders, 10 presidential
memos and four proclamations during
his first 12 days in office. The 39 executive
actions almost doubled the 20 issued during the same interval by each of his two
most recent predecessors, Donald Trump
and Barack Obama, and dwarf the 11
signed by Bill Clinton and the five from
George W. Bush.
After he signed three more executive
orders dealing with immigration in early
February, the president in a White House
press briefing admitted he had made considerable use of his pen and phone.
" There's a lot of talk, with good reason,
about the number of executive orders I
have signed, " Biden acknowledged. " I
am not making new law; I am eliminating
bad policy. The last president of the
United States issued executive orders I
felt were very counterproductive to our
security, counterproductive to who we
are as a country, particularly in the area
of immigration. "
The White House notes that its moves
pertaining to energy policy include:
· Revoking the presidential bordercrossing permit granted to the Keystone
XL pipeline;
· Freezing all new oil and natural
gas leases on public lands or in offshore
waters pending completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of
federal oil and gas permitting and leasing
practices;
· Ordering agency heads to identify
any fossil fuel subsidies their agencies
provide, and taking steps to ensure fossil
fuels receive no direct federal funding,
such as instructing the Office of Management and Budget to eliminate fossil
fuel subsidies from the budget request
for Fiscal 2022;
· Directing all executive agencies to
pause all regulations still in progress
while reviewing and possibly modifying
all federal regulations and executive
actions from the past four years;
· Reviewing the boundaries and conditions of the Grand Staircase-Escalante,
Bears Ears, Northeast Canyons and
Seamounts Marine national monuments
26 THE AMERICAN OIL & GAS REPORTER

and placing a temporary moratorium on
all oil and natural gas leasing activities
in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge;
and
· Rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement.
A few lawmakers have responded by
introducing legislation to reverse some
of Biden's policies. In late January, press
accounts note, Representative Liz Cheney,
R-Wy., introduced a pair of bills that
sought to block the administration's effort
to pause fossil fuel leasing on federal
properties. " The Safeguarding Oil and
Gas Leasing and Permitting Act " and the
" Safeguarding Coal Leasing Act " would
require Biden to obtain congressional approval before freezing such permitting.
Varying Reponses
Many environmental activists are applauding Biden's moves. For example,
Sierra Club Dirty Fuels Campaign Associate Director Catherine Collentine cheers
Biden's decision to reject Keystone XL
as a major victory.
" When this pipeline was proposed, it
was a foregone conclusion that it would
easily be approved and constructed, " she
says. " The fact it still hasn't been built
over 12 years later, and . . . will be
rejected for good, is a testament to the
dedication and tenacity of a nationwide
movement of frontline communities, indigenous leaders and environmentalists
working together to insist that our future
is not worth sacrificing for a dirty tar
sands pipeline. "
Similarly, Natural Resources Defense
Council Nature Program Senior Advocate
Josh Axelrod praised Biden's fossil fuel
moratorium on public lands and waters.
" The era of putting polluters' profits
first is over, " he declared. " We can't lock
our children and grandchildren into
decades more of the dirty fossil fuels of
the past, and all the hazards and harms
they bring to our public lands, oceans
and coastal communities. This moratorium
gives the country a chance to modernize
the way we deploy our natural resources
for developing energy-and to speed up a
just and equitable transition to goodpaying clean energy jobs of the future. "
Although many liberals hailed Biden's
vigorous start, Republicans and oil and
gas industry representatives were not the
only voices to express dismay. In one
such example, press accounts say, U.S.
Senator Jon Tester, D-Mt., panned Biden's

decision to pull Keystone's permit.
" I still don't know why this is the tip
of the spear, " he is quoted. " There are
hundreds if not thousands of pipelines
that run across that border, and why this
is the one people are fired up about, I
don't know. I don't think this makes or
breaks us on climate change. "
Tester added that discussions were
taking place to find ways to complete the
project.
Biden's Keystone decision also put
him at odds with the four U.S. labor
unions that had signed a labor agreement
associated with the project. According to
Keystone XL, these are the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Union of Operating
Engineers, and United Association of
Union Plumbers and Pipefitters
" The Biden Administration's decision
to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit
is both insulting and disappointing to the
thousands of hard-working LIUNA members who will lose good-paying, middle
class family-supporting jobs, " stated LIUNA General President Terry O'Sullivan.
" By blocking this 100% union project
and pandering to environmental extremists,
a thousand union jobs will immediately
vanish and 10,000 additional jobs will
be foregone.
" We support the president's campaign
to 'build back better,' " O'Sullivan added.
" But for union members affected by this
decision, there are no renewable energy
jobs that come even close to replacing
the wages and benefits the Keystone XL
project would have provided. Killing
good union jobs on day one with nothing
to replace them, is not building back
better. Hopefully, the Biden administration
will not continue to allow environmental
extremists to control our country's energy
agenda at the expense of union construction workers being forced to the unemployment lines. "
Looking Ahead
As for the outlook regarding the administration's strategy for the future, the
lion's share of political pundits and talking
heads seem to agree that Democrats' narrow majorities in both the House and
Senate limit the viability of far-reaching
measures. The more ambitious a legislative
proposal, conventional wisdom argues,
the less likely it is to reach Biden's desk.
Nevertheless, that does not preclude



American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2021

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American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2021 - Cover1
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American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2021 - Contents
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American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2021 - Cover3
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2021 - Cover4
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