HOUSTON – President Joe Biden signed 15 executive orders and actions within his first few hours in office. The orders involved immigration, racial equality and the coronavirus to name a few.
But the one catching the attention of Houstonians and the energy industry targets the Keystone XL pipeline.
“In Houston, I have a lot of people in the energy industry,” said Congressman Mike McCaul. “I want to protect their jobs.”
McCaul, who represents west and northwest portions of the Houston area, was at Wednesday’s inauguration. He notes that Congress previously has authorized the pipeline and believes the project is good for the country and oil and gas industry. He is willing to have the debate again.
“We’re gonna have a civilized discussion about that,” McCaul said. “But I think you’re going to see some, obviously from Texas, a lot of disagreement on that issue.”
The 1200-mile pipeline addition was designed to transport 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada to a site in Nebraska. President Biden’s action today revokes the presidential permit authorized by former President Trump. There’s been a strong reaction from other Texas lawmakers.
Congressman Dan Crenshaw tweeted the move only benefits Russian oligarchs.
However, University of Houston professor Ed Hirs doesn’t believe the president’s order will have a major impact in Houston.
“Cancellation of the Keystone pipeline really doesn’t mean anything for the Houston area,” he said. “Crude oil content from Saudi Arabia and from Venezuela. These are the winners in this debacle. The losers are Canadian friends.”
Canadian officials say the move could harm U.S.-Canadian relations.
Some Canadian leaders are threatening legal action.