Progressives join Republicans in attacking Biden over oil pipeline decisions

Since taking office earlier this year, President Joe Biden has taken a far less favorable approach to the U.S. energy sector than his predecessor, which has pleased many of the green energy progressives keeping an eye on such developments.

But as Washington Examiner writer Josh Siegel noted in a piece published over the weekend, Biden’s seeming insistence on destroying the fossil fuel industry hasn’t shielded him from being attacked by members of his own party. 

As one example, Siegel pointed to a recent decision by the Biden administration which will result in added scrutiny with regard to a controversial Line 5 oil pipeline in Michigan.

Jaime Pinkham, who serves as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s acting assistant secretary for civil works, as the Examiner reported last week, indicated that his agency decided that the pipeline’s owner, Enbridge, would be required to produce an environmental impact statement.

Trying to be reasonable

According to Pinkham, the Army Corps of Engineers “will ensure all potential impacts and reasonable alternatives associated with this project are thoroughly analyzed and will ultimately support a decision on the permit application.”

He added that a deluge of public comments, as well as input from tribal groups, “warrant further review through an EIS, including potential impacts to navigation.”

Still, the decision didn’t appear to placate green energy activists who criticized the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for siding with Enbridge regarding another pipeline, as the DOJ concluded that the company had met all of its legal obligations.

Green activists say Biden is “inconsistent”

Collin Rees, a senior campaigner with the anti-fossil fuels group Oil Change U.S., chided the Biden administration for not following a coherent philosophy on the topic of American energy.

“The Biden administration’s approach to Trump-era pipelines has been wildly inconsistent and unacceptable,” Rees said, as Siegel reported. “Biden appears to have abandoned any pretense of listening to science or environmental justice communities.”

Christi Tezak, a managing director at ClearView Energy Partners, an energy industry review firm, also criticized Biden’s inconsistent approach to such issues.

“There is no inconsistency from Biden here,” Tezak said. “Just because it was issued under the last administration, a permit is not guaranteed to be flawed. The best protection against shifting political winds is following law and regulations.”

While Biden may not be pleasing his green activist base, he appears more than willing to alienate blue-collar workers who depend on oil and gas jobs to provide for their families. Tony Clark, a former Republican member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), said that Biden has “created significant divisions” with “labor and working-class voters.”

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