Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) and Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Ranking Member David Rouzer (R-NC) led a coalition of 36 Republicans to call out the Biden Administration’s plan to arbitrarily discriminate against certain Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) projects related to fossil fuels.
In a letter to Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jamie Pinkham, the Members of Congress outlined critical concerns with the Biden Administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Budget Request, which included “not funding work that directly subsidizes fossil fuels including work that lowers the cost of production, lowers the cost of consumption, or raises the revenues retained by producers of fossil fuels.”
The lawmakers cautioned that this vague inclusion usurps Congressional authority while prioritizing actions that “disproportionately impact national security, critical energy infrastructure, and access to affordable and reliable energy.”
The Members of Congress wrote: “These “key objectives” in the budget request extend beyond establishing an agency priority; they purport to pick winners and losers by excluding an entire industry from congressional appropriations and federal resources. Since Congress specifically dedicates funds for ports that transport fossil fuel products, it undermines Congressional direction for the Executive Branch to unilaterally decide not to fund these items. Not only does the Administration’s statement about fossil fuels overstep its authority, but it also shortsightedly ignores the need for fossil fuels to create plastics, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other items Americans depend on.”
They warned this proposal would compound previous Biden Administration actions already harming American consumers and the economy: “The Biden Administration has already obstructed efforts to improve our energy infrastructure and ensure its resilience. Most notably, President Biden issued Executive Order 13990 on his first day in office to rescind the Presidential permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, costing thousands of jobs and endangering our energy independence and ability to transport energy resources with our Canadian partners. Pipelines are one of the safest, most environmentally-friendly, and efficient ways to transport energy products, and it was disappointing to see this Administration hamper their development and the transportation of critical energy resources.”
They also expressed concerns about the broader negative economic impact of this action on the regional and national level, as well as the potential for the Corps to re-direct funding and prioritization of work away from ports and navigation projects that support energy products and commodities:
“American ports and waterways do not exclusively handle energy products; the other commodities and industries that utilize this infrastructure will be affected. The U.S. maritime infrastructure system acts as a critical link in the American economy consisting of harbors, ports, channels, locks, dams, and waterways that deliver $4.6 trillion worth of goods and supporting more than 23 million U.S. jobs. These actions could also drive up the cost of energy for consumers when prices are already at record high levels.”