Manchin breaks with Biden on fossil fuels, calls for re-authorization of Keystone XL permit

President Joe Biden entered office with a clear mission to reduce domestic energy production, including an order to revoke the permit for the nearly completed Keystone XL pipeline.

Critics have cited those actions as factors in soaring fuel costs — and even a prominent Democratic senator is now calling on the president to re-authorize the pipeline’s permit.

A short-term solution

Earlier this week, Biden approved a substantial release from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) argued that it was the wrong response.

As the Washington Examiner reported, this was just the latest evidence that the West Virginia Democrat is not on board with his party’s general opposition to fossil fuels.

For its part, the White House announced on Tuesday that, in accordance with several other allied nations, the United States would release oil from its strategic reserve in an effort to drive down the price of refined gasoline for consumers.

In total, America is set to release up to 50 million barrels in a bid to increase the global supply. Such action was deemed necessary when oil-producing regions including Russia and much of the Middle East declined Biden’s repeated calls to ramp up their own supply.

As Manchin argued, however, even a massive release from the strategic reserve would only offer temporary relief for a more serious underlying problem.

“Clear and present threat”

In a statement released by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Manchin asserted: “Today’s release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is an important policy Band-Aid for rising gas prices but does not sole for the self-inflicted wound that shortsighted energy policy is having on our nation.”

He went on to cite “an energy transition” taking place in America, stressing the importance of the federal government to guard against rising costs for petroleum in the short term.

“Historic inflation, taxes, and the lack of a comprehensive all-of-the-above energy policy pose a clear and present threat to America’s economic and energy security that can no longer be ignored,” Manchin added.

In response to that threat, he urged Biden “to responsibly increase energy production here at home and to reverse course to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built which would have provided our country with up to 900,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada, one of our closest allies.”

As the Associated Press reported earlier this year, Manchin was similarly opposed to Biden’s policy when the pipeline’s permit was first revoked. At that time, the senator maintained that such pipelines “continue to be the safest mode to transport our oil and natural gas resources, and they support thousands of high-paying, American union jobs.”

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