Letter to President Joe Biden - Lankford Joins Colleagues to Push for Meeting with President To Advocate for Energy Workers
Dear President Biden:
As Senators who represent millions of Americans who work in our nation's resource development sectors, we are requesting a meeting with you as soon as possible to discuss recent actions that your administration has taken targeting those industries. As our nation is confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic challenges, it is paramount that we rise above politics and focus on policies that invigorate jobs for hard working Americans. We appreciate your previous statements supporting middle class jobs and working families. We too share these goals, but they must not come at the overwhelming expense of our constituents. As Senators from states where the energy and resource development sectors have provided good-paying jobs for generations, including the building trades unions, we have been surprised by your immediate actions upon taking office that have targeted hundreds of thousands of these jobs in our states and which run counter to your stated goal of creating good-paying jobs and helping struggling American families.
Over the last decade, the United States became an energy superpower, realizing the potential of our vast resources to provide secure energy for the U.S. and our allies. This revolution in the production of our resources, like oil and natural gas, has provided stable, good-paying middle class jobs across the country. Our states have also seen growth of renewable energy resources and jobs, which we support under an all-of-the-above energy strategy. This has been recognized as an important bipartisan achievement, especially as it relates to jobs. However, your recent executive actions have put hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wages at risk. From revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, to halting leasing and permitting on federal lands and waters, including ANWR, and freezing continued energy development programs throughout our states, you've threatened middle-class jobs in the midst of an economy challenged by the pandemic, with no hope in the near future for these workers and their families. Industries which will create new "green jobs" that can replace the ones lost are still years away from maturing, and provide no immediate hope for our workers.
We are not the only ones who are deeply concerned about your Administration's job-killing actions. As Mark McManus, the General President of the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters recently said about your Keystone XL decision, "When built with union labor by the men and women of the United Association, pipelines like Keystone XL remain the safest and most efficient modes of energy transportation in the world. Sadly, the Biden Administration has now put thousands of union workers out of work. For the average American family, it means energy costs will go up and communities will no longer see the local investments that come with pipeline construction." Terry O'Sullivan, the General President of the Laborer's International Union of North America also said that "there are no renewable energy jobs that come even close to replacing the wages and benefits the Keystone XL project would have provided. Killing good union jobs on day one with nothing to replace them, is not building back better."
Your actions will have grave consequences for our constituents, and taking these actions on your very first week as President, with no input from those of us who represent these hard working Americans is counter to the desires of the American people who want practical, bipartisan solutions to our nation's challenges, and who want policies that support working families.
Mr. President, we all watched your inauguration and took your words about unity and putting yourself in other people's shoes to heart. We know you understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of Americans to live paycheck to paycheck and to be worried about how they are going to pay rent and feed their families. Unfortunately, by targeting resource development, you have put thousands of good-paying jobs at risk, which is adding to the burden that our constituents are bearing right now and has the potential to further the divide between rural and urban America. The actions you've taken have the very real potential to devastate these hard working Americans and leave them and their families behind for decades to come.
At your inauguration, you pledged to represent all Americans, including those who live in our states. The best path to reach true unity is to work together to find solutions for them and for our environment. We stand ready to work with you and your nominees to meet the challenges our country faces, including working for a cleaner future, and protecting our hard working men and women. We hope that you will meet with us soon and commit to working together to address these important issues in a way that is best for all Americans.