Joe Biden faces drop in approval ratings after polling
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The US President had earned the applause of environmentalists, activists and campaigners for scrapping the Keystone XL pipeline upon taking office. Keystone XL had been projected to carry oil nearly 1,200 miles (1,900km) from the Canadian province of Alberta down to Nebraska, to join an existing pipeline, but was fiercely objected to by activists. But after scrapping that project soon after he was sworn into office, he has apparently remained silent about another pipeline project in Minnesota.
Although activists and Michigan’s state government has warned that the pipeline poses a catastrophic pollution risk to Great Lakes, the oil and gas industry, backed by the Canadian government, has warned Mr Biden that closing it will drive fuel prices even higher.
And after it was reported that Mr Biden was studying the potential market impact of scrapping the Line 5 pipeline, the US President was hit with a huge wave of criticism from Republicans.
They claim that the move would boost the price spike even higher, after already driving propane prices up 50 percent from a year ago just as demand is expected to increase as a cold winter approaches.
Republican Bob Latta and several other congressional lawmakers representing the region said in letter to Mr Biden.
It reads: “As we enter the winter months and temperatures drop across the Midwest, the termination of Line 5 will undoubtedly further exacerbate shortages and price increases in home heating fuels like natural gas and propane at a time when Americans are already facing rapidly rising energy prices, steep home heating costs, global supply shortages, and skyrocketing gas prices.”
But on the other side of the coin, environmental groups and native tribes support calls for the pipeline to be shut down.
The groups claim that a potential oil spill from the 70-year-old pipeline that crosses the Straits of Mackinac would cause devastation to the Great Lakes and Michigan’s coastal economies.
President received another letter, this time from the pipeline’s critics, also on November 4.
A group of 12 tribal nations wrote: “Given the strength and oscillation of the currents, over 700 miles of Lake Michigan and Huron shoreline would face serious contamination” in case of a spill.
“In contrast to Canada’s vocal support of [pipeline owner] Enbridge, and despite what we understand to be the Governor’s requests for help, your Administration has thus far been silent regarding Line 5.”
And Canada has been launching an attack on Mr Biden too.
Conservative members of Canada’s Governmnet were already furious at Mr Biden’s decision to pull the plug on Keystone XL.
Now, they say tearing down the new pipeline would require 2,100 rail cars to deliver the oil from the USA across the border to Canada.
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Canada Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly spoke with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday about the plans for Line 5.
Canada Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has said the pipeline’s continued operation should be “non-negotiable.”
This has piled the pressure on Mr Biden, who at COP26 was hoping to “lead by the power of example” in the transition away from fossil fuels to green energy sources.
Mr Biden may now have to make the difficult choice between ramping energy prices up even further and threatening an energy crisis, or continuing to emit greenhouse gases by using dirty fossil fuels as an energy source.
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