Sen. Cruz: Biden Administration Energy Policies Could Eliminate Thousands of Blue-Collar Jobs During an Economic Crisis
Questions Transportation Secretary nominee, Pete Buttigieg, on how his tenure could affect hard working Americans
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Commerce Committee, today participated in a full committee hearing to consider President Biden’s nomination of Pete Buttigieg to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In the hearing, Sen. Cruz questioned Mr. Buttigieg on the Biden administration’s cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline permit, saying:
“I will say it was disconcerting to see yesterday – the first day of the Biden administration – straight out of the gate, President Biden announced that he was canceling the Keystone Pipeline. That is a major infrastructure project. That is a project that right now today has 1,200 good paying union jobs. And in 2021, the Keystone Pipeline was scheduled to have more than 11,000 jobs, including 8,000 union jobs, for contracts worth $1.6 billion.
“And with the stroke of a pen, President Biden has told those 11,000 workers –those union workers – ‘your jobs are gone.’ Mr. Buttigieg, what do you say to those workers whose jobs have just been eliminated by presidential edict?”
Mr. Buttigieg responded, in part:
“The answer is that we are very eager to see those workers continue to be employed in good paying union jobs, even if they might be different ones.”
Sen. Cruz continued, outlining how burdensome federal regulations from the Biden administration will eliminate jobs for hardworking blue-collar Americans:
“I fear that decision is the front end of a whole series of regulatory decisions, one after the other after the other, that will be eliminating union jobs, that will be eliminating manufacturing jobs, that will be eliminating energy jobs. And that is altogether out of step with what the American people want.
“There is also some rich irony in the long history of the Democratic Party – there was a time when the Democratic Party under presidents like FDR was considered the party of union workers, of blue-collar workers. And [with] decisions like yesterday, I fear more decisions that we will see in the days and weeks to come, are demonstrating more and more that today's Democratic Party is not concerned with working men and women having jobs, and that the answer is, ‘We will eliminate your jobs, and I guess good luck in the future.’”
When discussing the importance of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in providing Americans affordable energy options, Sen. Cruz asked:
“This past June, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration finalized a rule authorizing the bulk transportation of liquefied natural gas by rail. LNG by rail gives Americans – particularly those who are limited with energy choices because of geography – gives them an affordable option for electricity. What are your views on the role that was finalized allowing the transportation of LNG by rail?”
Mr. Buttigieg said:
“So that’s something I want to take a closer look at if confirmed. I believe it's very important that we take account of the safety considerations that are at stake. I do recognize that natural gas, certainly for climate purposes, is not the same thing as coal. In our own city, in our own municipal fleet, we did a lot of work on things from garbage trucks to light duty vehicles to have some of them run on gas. And I think there was federal support to do that on our bus system as well. It's not the same as coal, but of course, it's also not the same as hydroelectric power. And we need to be balancing all of these considerations as we go forward.”
Sen. Cruz continued:
“So you're saying if confirmed, you would consider repealing that rule and stopping the transportation of LNG by rail?”
Mr. Buttigieg replied:
“The best honest answer I can give you now is that I'll be taking a hard look at it.”
Sen. Cruz has long fought to expand energy transportation and protect blue collar jobs for Americans, defending the Keystone Pipeline and the transportation of LNG exports:
- In 2015, Sen. Cruz introduced three pro-growth, pro-jobs amendments to the Keystone Pipeline XL Act, and opposed the Obama administration’s rejection of the pipeline.
- In 2015, Sen. Cruz called for expansion of LNG exports, a key component to the American Energy Renaissance Act that he introduced that year.
- In 2017, Sen. Cruz introduced the Natural Gas Export Expansion Act, eliminating the arduous process that discourages LNG trade and increases LNG exports by facilitating permits to non-Free Trade Agreement (FTA) counties.
- In 2018, Sen. Cruz applauded the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for issuing environment schedules for 12 LNG export projects, six of which were in Texas.
- In 2019, Sen. Cruz applauded the FERC’s final approval of four LNG export projects in the state of Texas, three of which were in Brownsville, and one in Corpus Christi.
- In 2019, Sen. Cruz sent a letter, along with Sen. Hoeven (R-N.D.) and colleagues, urging the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to preempt the recently-passed Washington State crude-by-rail law, which would have effectively blocked the Pacific Northwest as a destination for Bakken crude oil.
- In December of 2020, Sen. Cruz commended the Department of Energy’s decision to extend seven LNG export authorizations through 2050.