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Montana's U.S. senators call on Biden to increase domestic oil/gas production

Posted at 3:53 PM, Mar 02, 2022

HELENA — Montana’s U.S. senators have called upon President Biden to reconsider the Keystone XL Pipeline project and increase domestic energy production following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Both Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) have supported the Keystone XL Pipeline in the past. The pipeline would have run from Alberta to Texas, including Baker, Mont. where oil from the Bakken would have been added.

On Wednesday, Democratic Senator Jon Tester urged the Biden Administration to immediately work to increase domestic energy production as an effort to protect American consumers from spiking gasoline prices and reduce dependence on foreign oil and gas production.

“As our nation unites to confront President Vladimir Putin’s reckless actions, strengthening our energy independence from enemies like Russia must be a priority,” wrote Tester in a letter to the Secretaries of Energy, State, and Interior. “I believe it is critically important to immediately use the tools at our disposal to increase domestic energy production to protect American consumers from spiking gasoline prices and isolate President Putin and his oligarchs. Montanans are facing gas prices that are, on average, a dollar higher than they were a year ago.”

Tester’s call to action comes five days after Daines rebuked the president for revoking the permit for the pipeline on Biden’s first day in office.

“President Biden set us on a dangerous path when he decided to kill the Keystone XL pipeline on Day One in office,” Daines said on Feb. 25. “What’s happening in Russia and Europe is a stark reminder of the need to support American energy development, not hinder it. Energy security is national security, and a global energy dominant America is a safer world. Biden must restart the Keystone XL pipeline now.”

If the Keystone XL Pipeline had been completed, the pipeline was estimated to have been able to transport 830,000 barrels of oil per day. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the United States imported around 671,000 barrels of oil per day from Russia in 2021.

While the Biden Administration has imposed a number of sanctions on Russia for their invasion of Ukraine, as of March 2 none have targeted Russian oil and gas exports.

Tester also called on the Biden Administration Wednesday to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, increase transparency into the oil and gas leasing process, invest in domestic clean energy generation, and to work with oil and gas producers to incentivize domestic energy production in order to lower cost for American consumers.