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Plain Talk: Nobel laureate says Biden canceling Keystone pipeline was 'symbol' that led to higher gas prices

Dr. Vernon Smith is speaking this week at North Dakota State University's Challey Institute as a part of the Menard Family's Distinguished Speakers Series. His work has focused on natural resources, experimental economics, and the roles trust, love, and empathy play in society.

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Deer gather at a depot used to store pipes for Transcanada Corp's planned Keystone XL oil pipeline in Gascoyne, North Dakota, in 2017.
REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
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MINOT, N.D. — When President Joe Biden, as one of his first moves in office, canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, it was "a symbol" for the oil and gas industry that the political situation would be hostile to them in the coming years.

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This ruling "increases the odds that you're going to see carbon capture on some of our projects," says Jason Bohrer, president of the North Dakota Lignite Energy Council.

That lead them to curtail their investments in new production capacity, something that, per Smith, speaking on this episode of Plain Talk, is now contributing to higher fuel prices and a higher cost of living for Americans.

Cheap energy is of enormous interest, not just to Americans but to the whole world, Dr. Smith says. "Cheap energy is the solution to poverty," he said, casting the debates on energy issues as a "conflict between the reduction of poverty and the interest in reducing carbon emissions."

Though he says the world can't ignore climate issues, he has a hard time ranking them above the goal of lifting people out of poverty.

Dr. Smith has also done extensive research in the role of trust, love, and empathy in a society, and spoke about those issues in the context of our low-trust society and political environment.

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He will be speaking about these topics more at a Tuesday, May 3, talk sponsored by North Dakota State University's Sheila and Robert Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth. If you want to participate in Dr. Smith's lecture, which will be part of the Menard Family Distinguished Speakers Series, visit the Challey Institute's page on the NDSU website .

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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