American Workers, Business Leaders on Biden Axing Keystone Pipeline: ‘Slap in Face’ to Union Members

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP
Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP

President Joe Biden on his first day on the job axed the Keystone XL Pipeline, drawing the ire of union workers, industry stakeholders, and GOP lawmakers whose states will be negatively impacted by the decision.

Mike Sommers, president and CEO of trade group American Petroleum Institute, said Biden’s announcement “is a slap in the face to the thousands of union workers who are already a part of this safe and sustainable project.”

“This misguided move will hamper America’s economic recovery, undermine North American energy security, and strain relations with one of America’s greatest allies,” Sommers said.

Mark McManus, general president of the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters, said in a statement:

In revoking this permit, the Biden Administration has chosen to listen to the voices of fringe activists instead of union members and the American consumer on Day 1. Let me be very clear: When built with union labor by the men and women of the United Association, pipelines like Keystone XL remain the safest and most efficient modes of energy transportation in the world.

“Sadly, the Biden administration has now put thousands of union workers out of work,” McManus said. “For the average American family, it means energy costs will go up and communities will no longer see the local investments that come with pipeline construction.”

The Wall Street Journal editorial board also responded to Biden’s move, concluding that not only is it destructive to the U.S. economy but possibly illegal:

Since 2000 the U.S. has led the world in energy-related emissions reductions as natural gas from shale hydraulic fracturing has replaced coal in power production. China’s Paris commitment doesn’t require it to cut emissions for another decade. Russia’s are set to rise for years. Last November Russian oil giant Rosneft launched a massive exploration project in the Arctic. “Mineral resources will remain a competitive advantage of Russia’s economy, and will determine the place and role of the country in the world,” Russia’s strategic mineral plan says.

Killing Keystone won’t keep fossil fuels in the ground. It will merely strand billions of dollars in Canadian investment and kill thousands of U.S. jobs while enriching adversaries and alienating an ally. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has promised to “use all legal avenues available” to protect its Keystone investment if Mr. Biden killed the pipeline.

[TC Energy] can avail itself of Nafta’s investor-dispute settlement provision until June 2022, which would allow it to recoup its investment. The company also has a strong legal case that the U.S. Constitution gives Congress, not the President, power over foreign trade and that Mr. Biden’s reversal violates due process.

And some members of Congress are fighting back by introducing legislation to authorize the continued construction of the pipeline. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) said:

It’s only day one, and with the stroke of a pen, Biden has already taken steps to kill American energy projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline which is critical to energy producing states like Montana. This project will create thousands of jobs, generate tax revenue for local communities, promote North American energy security and independence, and it is the safest and most environmentally friendly way to transport oil. We must do all that we can to ensure construction moves forward.”

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) said:

We came so far during the last administration – from prioritizing American energy development to ending the far-left’s war on fossil fuels. The Keystone XL pipeline would create thousands of jobs in Oklahoma and throughout the nation and President Biden’s disappointing choice today to revoke this permit will harm the nation’s tremendous progress toward energy independence. I am sad to see this decision to continue the failed Obama-era legacy of denying tens of thousands of Americans good, well-paying jobs at the expense of satisfying liberal, ‘Green New Deal’ inspired interest groups.

“It is a sad day for the future of American energy independence, but I will not stop fighting for legislation and other policies that keep energy costs down and further our energy and national security,” Inhofe.

“[Keystone XL Pipeline is expected to provide approximately 11,000 direct high-paying jobs and up to 60,000 indirect and direct jobs, generate tax revenue, increase renewable-energy demand, reduce emissions and strengthen North American energy independence,” the lawmakers’ press release said.

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