Rep. Cole Responds To President Biden's Flurry Of Executive Orders

Wednesday, January 27th 2021, 5:28 pm
By: Alex Cameron


As part of a strategy to combat climate change, President Joe Biden signed several more executive orders, one of which halts the approval of new oil and gas drilling leases on federal land.

The action drew harsh criticism from Oklahoma's congressional delegation, as have several of the executive orders the president has issued thus far.

One week into his presidency, Biden has signed more than two dozen executive orders, which is about a third of the number President Donald Trump issued in his entire first year.

In an interview on Wednesday, Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole said the new administration is not off to a very good start.

"Well, on rhetoric, I would give them probably a B-plus," said Cole, (R) OK-4, "On performance, probably a D-minus. I don't think you can be from an energy state and be very happy."

Cole said orders canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, rejoining the Paris Climate Accords and pausing new permitting on federal lands are terrible decisions.

"Those are decisions that have cost us thousands of jobs, millions of dollars, (and) weakened American energy independence," Cole said. "Long-term, they’ll threaten the energy industry in Oklahoma, as well."

Biden insists those things won't happen under his plan, which he said is necessitated by the existential threat posed by climate change. Biden said this is no time for small measures, but reassured oil and gas states like Oklahoma that he has no intentions of killing the industry.

"Let me be clear, and I know this always comes up," said the president. "We're not going to ban fracking."

Stopping work on the southern border wall is another executive action that Oklahoma's delegation is condemning.

"It’s a signal to folks in Central America, that maybe the new administration is going to be a lot more lenient," Cole said.

Cole said Biden is also sending a signal to Republicans that perhaps he's not as serious about unifying the country as he said one week ago.

"It seems to me, this flurry of executive orders runs against a lot of the things he committed to in what was certainly a fine inaugural address," said Cole.

If Biden's executive order trend continues, he could potentially surpass Trump's use of the measure, which was considered prolific. Trump issued 212 executive orders over his four years as president.