Keystone XL Workers Speak Out: The Devastating Consequences of Biden’s Executive Order

Fox News is reporting that the workers who were set to work on the Keystone XL project before President Biden revoked its federal permits are still struggling to recover two years later. These workers and their fellow workers lost their jobs on the pipeline after Biden’s decision nearly two years ago in January 2021 and have since struggled to make ends meet.

Immediately after taking office, President Biden signed an executive order effectively shutting the project down despite the thousands of jobs it was expected to create and arguing the U.S. “must prioritize the development of a clean energy economy.”

“I was going to be on the Keystone XL project, but none of those jobs went. It got canceled, so I didn’t see any of that work,” said Suzanne Walker, a pipeline welder who was hired to work the pipeline in North Dakota until Biden canceled its permits. “That was a job down the drain and there really hasn’t been much since.”

The pipeline would have created between 16,149 and 59,468 construction jobs that would have lasted roughly two years and would have had a positive economic impact of between $3.4-9.6 billion, according to a congressionally-mandated report issued by the Department of Energy in December.

And the project’s labor agreement signed in August 2020 promised the pipeline would create 42,000 American jobs and provide $2 billion in total wages.

“It did surprise us when it happened,” said Neal Crabtree, who worked on the pipeline in Nebraska as a foreman. “I was upset over it. I literally cried about it. I was a foreman on one of the compressor stations. We’d been there for three weeks.”

“We were excited to start this project. You know, we have to work to keep our insurance hours going, we have to work to build our retirement,” he added. “And when you just spent a whole year [during the COVID-19 pandemic] not working and then we think we got this huge project that’s going to provide millions of man-hours for people in our industry and then the rug is pulled out from under you, it was devastating.”

“It was numbing, I can tell you that,” Crabtree said.

Crabtree said he and many of his fellow Keystone XL workers had heard Biden’s campaign promise to shut the pipeline, but didn’t think he would follow through given the billions of dollars that had been invested in it.

The project had been slated to be completed early this year and transport an additional 830,000 barrels of crude oil from Canada to the U.S. through an existing pipeline network, according to its operator TC Energy.

Lawmakers and energy industry representatives have argued the pipeline would have helped keep gas prices down and bolster U.S. energy security by increasing crude oil supplies being fed to Texas refineries.

Advocates of the project had also pointed to the number of jobs it would have created, but unfortunately, these jobs were sacrificed in the name of a so-called “clean energy economy”. The Biden administration’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL project is an example of the Democrats putting their environmental agenda ahead of American workers, and the consequences are devastating for those who were counting on those jobs.