(The Center Square) – The Biden administration has drawn fire for admitting that killing the Keystone Pipeline cost the U.S. economy thousands of jobs and billions of dollars.

A report from the Department of Energy showed the pipeline would have supported tens of thousands of jobs, though the number is hard to nail down.

The report also pointed to other studies that estimated the pipeline would have added billions of dollars to the economy, though it cautioned the number can vary widely and is hard to determine.

Republicans blasted the Biden administration after the report was released.

“Now we learn the truth,” said U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo, who lamented the loss of “working class jobs” in the U.S. “Not to mention our energy independence. All for the fanatical climate religion of the left.”

Republicans have been critical of Biden for his energy policies long before this report. That criticism hit a fever pitch last summer when gas prices hit record highs, surpassing an average of $5 per gallon nationally.

“Countless jobs and billions of dollars were lost because [Biden] canceled the Keystone XL pipeline. Who benefitted? Certainly not the American people,” U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said. “It certainly energized radical leftists who categorically hate fossil fuels. But demand remains strong, forcing us to buy more from energy producers on other continents who don’t share our interests or our commitment to providing clean, affordable energy to Americans.

“Biden had a choice, and didn’t side with the American people,” he added.

The 1,200-mile pipeline was designed to carry crude oil from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada, through Montana and South Dakota to Steele City, Nebraska.

Construction began under the Trump administration, but Biden revoked the permit via executive order on his first day in office, saying the pipeline “disserves the U.S. national interest.” Instead, he argued, the U.S. “must be in a position to exercise vigorous climate leadership” and canceling the pipeline would help put the world “on a sustainable climate pathway.”

Biden has touted getting prices down from their $5 peak, which he did in part by relying heavily on the Strategic Petroleum Oil Reserves. Biden has also repeatedly blamed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for the higher prices, calling it “Putin’s price hike.” That invasion has exacerbated prices, but those costs were already rising before the war.

A recent analysis from GasBuddy projected that gas prices would average $3.49 per gallon this year, peaking at $4.12 per gallon in June.

“2023 is not going to be a cakewalk for motorists. It could be expensive,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said in a statement. “The national average could breach $4 per gallon as early as May – and that’s something that could last through much of the summer driving season. Basically, curveballs are coming from every direction. Extreme amounts of volatility remain possible, but should become slightly more muted in the year ahead. I don’t think we’ve ever seen such an amount of volatility as we saw this year, and that will be a trend that likely continues to lead to wider uncertainty over fuel prices going into 2023.”

The high prices last year, the energy department report, and elevated prices in 2023 mean those criticisms of Biden will likely continue.

“Joe Biden’s adherence to the green agenda destroyed jobs, destroyed revenue and is costing America’s working families untold money in inflation,” said Daniel Turner, founder and executive director of the energy workers advocacy group, Power The Future. “The Keystone XL pipeline was a common sense solution to our nation’s energy infrastructure but because it was approved by President Trump, Joe Biden couldn’t help but destroy it for petty political reasons. Joe Biden often talks about creating ‘good union jobs’ but it’s clear he will always put politics before people.”

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