Keystone Pipeline Canceled, Workers Speak Out
President Joe Biden made the wildest dreams of environmentalists come true last month. He canceled work on the Keystone XL Pipeline extension.
But he also cost the US economy 1,000 existing jobs and 11,000 future jobs.
“I wish he hadn’t done that on the first day,” says Richard Trumka, head of the largest federations of unions in the US (AFL-CIO). “I wish he had paired that more carefully with the thing that he did second, by saying here’s where we’re creating jobs.”
Biden has promised to create “hundreds of thousands of jobs” through green energy initiatives, but furloughed workers aren’t keen to move across the country to find new work. “If you destroy 100 jobs in Greene County, PA, where I grew up, and you create 100 jobs in California, it doesn’t do those 100 families much good,” argues Trumka.
Speaking on Fox News, an out-of-work pipeline welder described his future as “pretty grey” and expressed doubts regarding the Biden Administration’s plans for the energy sector. “Oil and gas is what drives the world,” he said. “It’s not gonna be solar or windmills. It’s gonna be oil and gas.”
President Biden has proposed mine reclamation and cleanup projects to create new jobs in the same communities where workers are being laid off. The details are unclear.
“You can’t just roll over to something else, doing what we do,” explains the welder. “These projects take a long time going through all the red tape…it’s not like they just happen overnight. The contractors and the gas companies themselves, you know, they anticipate this big job so they probably did not put the permits in place to get any other thing going.”
“A slap in the face”
Canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline extension was a “real shot in the foot for me, because I’m home now and…I need to take care of these children,” adds another out-of-work welder with three kids. “John Kerry wants me to go get another job. You know what, that’s a slap in the face because… I’ve paid taxes for a long, long time and I don’t owe nobody and I work.”
The Keystone Pipeline system carries tar sands crude from Alberta, Canada to various processing hubs in the United States. The XL extension, originally proposed in 2008, would considerably speed that process. The first segment of the extension, which has been completed, runs from Cushing, OK to Port Arthur, TX. The Obama Administration vetoed the second segment over environmental concerns. It would have connected Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska. The project moved forward during the Trump Administration before President Biden canceled it last month.
Author’s Note: Biden says he wants to work closely with unions and blue collar workers. However, he has already pissed them off by canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline extension. We can expect more of this in the coming years.