Among a flurry of executive orders on his first day in office, President Joe Biden yesterday revoked a critical cross-border permit for the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline. More than a thousand jobs will be cut in the coming weeks as a result of the decision, with the majority of layoffs being unionized workers representing the building trades.
But that’s just the beginning. In an op-ed in the Washington Times, GAIN spokesman Craig Stevens explains the significant ramifications of the shortsighted political maneuver. Stevens writes:
Estimated to support 11,000 U.S. jobs in 2021 and generate $1.6 billion in gross wages, the $9 billion energy infrastructure project is well-positioned to be a lifeline to labor unions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, not to mention the state and local government coffers that stand to benefit from nearly $140 million in annual property tax revenues along the pipeline’s route.
Stevens also underscores that the impacts extend beyond U.S. borders:
If completed, the project would transport 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from Alberta, Canada, to Nebraska, and is intended to expand critical oil exports for Canada, which has the third-largest oil reserves in the world… Increasing safe, reliable access to Canadian oil is critical to reducing American energy imports from the Middle East, subsequently diminishing the influence of unpredictable foreign regimes who are often not ideologically aligned with U.S. foreign policy goals.
From fueling personal vehicles and the supply chain to serving as the building blocks for thousands of essential items, crude oil and petroleum products play a critical role in our modern economy, and blocking Keystone XL won’t reduce our need for them. As Stevens points out, “it will only increase reliance on the less safe and higher emissions-producing transport alternatives of truck and train.”
As our nation looks forward and recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, it is critical that American policymakers and regulators welcome investment in our infrastructure network, as well as the thousands of good-paying jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue and economic activity that come with it. Now is the time for logic and fact-based policymaking – not shortsighted, knee-jerk decisions intended to make bold political statements.