Senators react to President Biden’s executive orders

  • Sen. Jim Inhofe
  • Sen. James Lankford

While President Joe Biden signed several executive orders this past week after taking the oath of office, some created bigger headlines than others.

Three which prompted statements from Oklahoma’s senators were the order to stop work on the Keystone XL Pipeline, stop construction on the border wall in South Texas and rejoin the Paris Agreement.

Keystone XL Pipeline

The U.S. Senate passed a bill in 2015, calling for phase 4 of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The U.S. House of Representatives approved it later that year.

President Barack Obama vetoed the bill, however senators overrode that veto, enacting the bill.

In 2017, then-President Donald Trump signed a presidential permit allowing construction to begin.

If completed, the pipeline would connect a pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada, to Cushing, which connects to refineries in Texas and along the Gulf Coast.

Sen. Jim Inhofe said construction of this pipeline would create thousands of jobs in Oklahoma and throughout the nation.

“I am sad to see this decision to continue the failed Obama-era legacy of denying tens of thousands of Americans good, well-paying jobs at the expense of satisfying liberal, ‘Green New Deal’ inspired interest groups,” Inhofe said. “It is a sad day for the future of American energy independence, but I will not stop fighting for legislation and other policies that keep energy costs down and further our energy and national security.”

Sen. James Lankford offered similar sentiment, saying the Keystone XL Pipeline is the physical embodiment of Democrats’ crusade against traditional energy.

“President Biden wasted no time turning back years of Americans’ hard work developing, ironing out the route, and building this trans-border pipeline,” Lankford said. “The southern leg of Keystone, which begins in Cushing, has been complete for more than 6 years, but the northern leg of the pipeline — under the strictest pipeline safety standards ever implemented — has faced countless delays.”

Pipelines are the safest way to transport oil. Yesterday’s irrational denial of the Keystone XL permit damages the country’s relationship with Canada and will lead to higher prices at the pump for consumers, Lankford said.

“While Oklahomans want to see the US continue to pursue an all-of-the-above energy policy, we also understand our cars and trucks currently run on oil. Limiting access to an oil pipeline kills jobs and limits our energy supply. Kicking people who work in the energy sector on day-one may help progressive politics, but in Oklahoma, we know our jobs and livelihoods are next,” Lankford said.

Border wall

Another executive order President Biden issued this week will halt construction on a border wall in South Texas.

During former President Trump’s campaign for president in 2016, he promised a border wall along the southern border of the United States with Mexico.

Construction did begin, and once complete, the wall was to help with illegal immigration.

With President Biden’s order, that construction has been halted.

Lankford said this decision will hurt national security.

“After setting up walls and fences throughout Washington, D.C., for the inauguration, President Biden announced he does not believe fences promote our national security on our southern border,” Lankford said. “I have seen first-hand at the southern border the innovative ways which our brave Border Patrol agents work to stop the flow of drug and human traffickers into our nation, and they have told me a physical barrier makes that national security task safer and simpler. Halting construction of the physical barrier at the southern border sends a dangerous message to the cartels in Mexico and the ‘coyote’ human smugglers this administration will not do everything possible to deter their illegal trafficking of drugs or people.”

Lankford said this wall is vital to national security.

“It has to be the cornerstone of any larger immigration conversation in our nation. Legal immigration is good, but we must do everything we can to deter illegal immigration,” Lankford said.

Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement requires each country which is a part of it to determine, plan and regularly report about the ways that country is mitigating global warming.

One of Biden’s first moves was to have the United States rejoin the Paris Agreement, an agreement dealing with greenhouse gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance, which was signed in 2016.

In 2017, then-President Trump announced the United States would not participate in the agreement.

In a statement this week, Inhofe said the Paris Climate Agreement was a bad deal when it was signed under then-vice president Biden and it is a mistake for President Biden to rejoin.

“The agreement has not been modified — the United States would be responsible for the majority of reductions and the leading polluters, China and India, largely unaccountable — putting our economic growth at a severe disadvantage,” Inhofe said.

In the past 4 years, the United States has been leading the world in reducing CO2 emissions, further proof American businesses didn’t need to endure the effects of heavy-handed environmental regulations during the Obama administration, Inhofe said.

“I am disappointed by the precedent set today by the Biden Administration with the executive action to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. We shouldn’t go back to bad deals out of spite — and the Paris Climate Agreement is clearly a bad deal,” Inhofe said.

President Biden plans to sign 30 executive orders within his first week of being in office.