Fired Keystone Pipeline Worker Says Biden’s Move Going to Hurt ‘A Lot of Families’

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
January 28, 2021USshare
Fired Keystone Pipeline Worker Says Biden’s Move Going to Hurt ‘A Lot of Families’
A depot used to store pipes for the planned Keystone XL oil pipeline is seen in Gascoyne, N.D., on Jan. 25, 2017. (Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Following the decision by the Biden administration to cancel the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, many workers have already been laid off from their jobs, eliminating their steady source of income.

An unidentified general manager working on the Keystone XL pipeline said during a briefing that “hundreds of guys” have already been laid off in Wisconsin as a result of President Joe Biden’s executive order.

Neal Crabtree, a 46-year-old welding foreman from Arkansas, whose last steady source of income was eliminated along with many of his colleagues, said the cancelation of the project is going to hurt a lot of Americans.

“To have a project of this magnitude canceled, it’s going to hurt a lot of people, a lot of families, a lot of communities,” Crabtree told Fox News. “This is not a time to be making political statements,” he added. “We need to be finding ways to put more Americans back to work, not the other way around.”

The cancelation of the permit was expected to swiftly eliminate an estimated 11,000 U.S. jobs the project would have sustained in 2021, which also includes 8,000 union jobs.

Pipe prepared for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline
Miles of unused pipe, prepared for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, sit in a lot outside Gascoyne, N.D., on Oct. 14, 2014. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Crabtree, a single father of three, has worked as a welder all his life, explaining his father and grandfather also worked in the field. He criticized the move of some Democratic politicians who said workers impacted by the administration’s fossil fuel policy can find jobs in other growing industries.

“You spend a lifetime fine-tuning your skills and if you go start another job you’re starting at the bottom,” he told Fox News. “I doubt that these politicians would like it if someone told them to go start over and find a different job.”

“They’re killing the jobs that are here and selling a fairy tale of jobs that aren’t,” he added.

Biden canceled the $8 billion project on his first day in office, fulfilling a campaign promise to rescind former President Donald Trump’s permit for Keystone XL.

The new administration’s aggressive approach to fight climate change was applauded by the environmental movement and climate change activists who have rallied in opposition to the project.

Many others, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have called the move a disappointment. Trudeau emphasized the importance of the bilateral relations between Canada and the United States and their mutual concerns over economic and energy security.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a Covid-19 briefing at the Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Ontario, on Dec. 18, 2020. (Lars Hagberg/AFP via Getty Images)

Elmira Aliakbari, associate director of natural resource studies at the Fraser Institute, says the cancellation will have considerable economic consequences while doing virtually nothing to reduce emissions.

“Ironically, this cancellation will do little or nothing for the environment because it doesn’t lessen U.S. oil dependency. It is likely that U.S. refineries in the Gulf Coast will increase their reliance on other countries such as Venezuela and Russia for oil imports,” she says.

Biden’s administration, however, said the repeal is one of its first steps to address the climate crisis, explaining the Keystone XL pipeline permit was not consistent with the administration’s economic and climate imperatives.

Crabtree said he understands if the government wants to develop more climate imperative infrastructures, but also criticized them at the same time for just getting rid of thousands of jobs, calling Biden’s plan “unrealistic.”

“You can’t just flip a switch and go from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” he said. “If they want to start developing that infrastructure, they can. But you can’t just get rid of us at the same time.”

“I can’t understand how the pipeline industry has become the villains,” he continued. “The American public doesn’t understand that by not building this pipeline, it’s not going to keep the oil from getting to the market. It’s already coming.”

Shane Miller contributed to this report.

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