Unions that delighted in pushing Joe Biden for president during the presidential campaign in 2020 are condemning his decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline.
On Wednesday, Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, killing an estimated 11,000 American jobs. “TC Energy Corporation, the Canadian company behind the Keystone XL pipeline project, said they would cut more than 11,000 jobs,” The Blaze reported.
Only days after former president Donald Trump was inaugurated in January 2017, he restarted the efforts to complete the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines by imposing a deadline on the government’s environmental review of the pipelines. TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL was intended to transport Alberta oil sands to U.S. refineries.
The Obama administration had rejected the Keystone proposal in November 2015 and had blocked Dakota Access since September of 2016. Reuters reported, “TransCanada Corp said it would resubmit an application for a permit for Keystone XL after Trump signed an order saying the company could re-apply. The application will be reviewed by the U.S. State Department, which has 60 days to reach a decision.”
On Wednesday, Biden issued an executive order stating:
On March 29, 2019, the President granted to TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. a Presidential permit (the “Permit”) to construct, connect, operate, and maintain pipeline facilities at the international border of the United States and Canada (the “Keystone XL pipeline”), subject to express conditions and potential revocation in the President’s sole discretion. The Permit is hereby revoked in accordance with Article 1(1) of the Permit. The Keystone XL pipeline disserves the U.S. national interest. The United States and the world face a climate crisis. That crisis must be met with action on a scale and at a speed commensurate with the need to avoid setting the world on a dangerous, potentially catastrophic, climate trajectory. … Leaving the Keystone XL pipeline permit in place would not be consistent with my Administration’s economic and climate imperatives.
Unions which hitherto had championed Biden were furious.
On September 7, 2020, Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America, issued an endorsement of the Bide-Harris presidential ticket, writing:
After discussions with our leaders and members, the General Executive Board of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) unanimously, enthusiastically, and proudly endorses Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris for President and Vice President of the United States of America. As we celebrate Labor Day 2020, and remember the strife and struggle of those who came before us, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris stand out as the blue-collar candidates…
Joe Biden is one of us; he knows, first hand, the trials and tribulations faced by working men and women across this country. …Over the crucial next few months, the 500,000 strong, proud, and united men and women of LIUNA will be on the front lines relentlessly working to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and leading the way to fulfill their mantra of “Build Back Better.”
But last week, after hearing that Biden would kill the Keystone XL pipeline, the union tweeted: “Pipeline construction has been a lifeline for many #LIUNA members across the country. The anticipated decision to cancel the #KeysonePipeline will kill thousands of good-paying #UNION jobs!”
#Pipeline construction has been a lifeline for many #LIUNA members across the country. The anticipated decision to cancel the #KeystonePipeline will kill thousands of good-paying #UNION jobs! #pipelinesarelifelines #energy pic.twitter.com/p0BxD1vPHV
— LIUNA (@LIUNA) January 20, 2021
In August, the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters endorsed Biden. But on January 18, anticipating Biden’s announcement about the pipeline, Mark McManus, General President of the United Association, released a statement which said:
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. 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.
In October, the North American Building Trades Unions endorsed Biden. But NABTU’s president Sean McGarvey said the day after Biden’s executive order that the organization was “deeply disappointed in the decision” of TC Energy to cut jobs. He stated, “Environmental ideologues have now prevailed, and over a thousand union men and women have been terminated from employment on the project.”
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