Joe Biden’s decision to cancel the permit allowing the Keystone XL pipeline to cross the border from Canada was dangerous, deliberate and needlessly devastated the lives of thousands of workers and hundreds of communities who would benefit from the construction and safe transfer of petroleum to refineries in Texas.
At a time when every job counts, a pandering president took the side of radicals and turned his back on American union workers. It was an unforgivable move on his part and gave us an early glimpse of what he’s capable of.
The decision did nothing to reduce the flow of oil from the tar sands of Canada or advance green energy. The pipeline will most likely be re-routed through Canada and the additional expense will be shared at the pump by all of us. If some of it still goes to Texas, it will be in shipped via truck and rail which is dangerous and expensive.
Earlier this week a massive explosion rocked Cameron, Texas, after a train carrying oil hit a semi at a crossing. The tankers caught fire, burning down at least one nearby home and forcing evacuation. The blaze was so hot that firefighters were forced to wait for it to die down before beginning their work. Pipelines don’t have that same risk.
According to The New Yorker Magazine, it was a victory that illustrates a lot about where we stand in the push for a fair and working planet. Flowery statement for sure, but how did it impact American families? The average pay for a pipeline worker is $77,000. The number of workers affected is between 8,000 and 11,000. That means on the low end, the presidential executive order intentionally ended an income opportunity of between $616 million and $847 million. That doesn’t account for housing, food, maintenance of vehicles and equipment, health care, retail sales, etc.
It also had an impact on a local Eau Claire company, Precision Pipeline. After some sleuthing on the internet, we found a press release dated Jan. 5, 2021, on the Cision PR Newswire website. It stated Precision Pipeline was selected by TC Energy to help construct the Keystone XL pipeline in Montana and South Dakota. According to the release, PPL would be responsible for hiring an estimated 1,600 union workers over the two-year construction period. In addition to the job creation, the Keystone XL Pipeline project was expected to contribute $55 million in annual property tax revenues, with millions in economic benefits going directly to education and essential community services alone.
A massive and needed project was stopped because a group of radical activists and politicians conflated the pipeline project with climate change. The timing of the project along with the outcry of a pending global disaster made the project a scapegoat for the Democrats, especially an incoming president. Extra points for reversing evil orange man’s decision and reaffirming Barack Obama’s earlier decision.
This was deliberate and intentional. Biden knew what he was signing and the affect it would have on thousands of American union jobs and hundreds of communities from Montana to Texas. It was a dangerous decision, and it was made on his first day. This was a direct attack on American workers, their families and their livelihood. It wasn’t a sacrifice for the greater good, it was appeasement.
Rickman is publisher of the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram.