Biden’s Keystone bummer is still felt a year later

Joe Biden started his presidency on January 20, 2021 by killing the Keystone XL pipeline. It was a message that confirmed his commitment to green energy policies.

For the energy industry, the United States’ allies abroad, and skilled workers at home, however, the effects of Biden’s actions were far more concrete.

“Killing 10,000 jobs and taking $ 2.2 billion in wages out of workers’ pockets is not what Americans need or want right now,” Andy Black, president and CEO of the Association of Oil Pipelines, said at the time.

The Laborers’ International Union of North America called Biden’s decision “both insulting and disappointing for the thousands of hard-working members who want to lose high-paying, middle-class family support jobs.”

That was a year ago. What does the decision to end the Keystone pipeline look like today?

First, there are the immediate economic consequences. Six months after Biden’s decision, TC Energy pulled the plug on the pipeline, which would have sent 500,000 barrels a day from western Canada to the U.S. refining system. Given U.S. annual production of 16.5 million barrels per day in 2020, it was not a huge loss at the time.

But today, domestic energy supply is strained and global demand is rising. American allies in Europe are struggling to meet demand in the winter of 2022. Circumstances are very different from the day Biden blocked Keystone.

“The bite has hurt us,” said H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., Senior Fellow of Environmental Policy at the Illinois-based Heartland Institute. “There is no doubt about it.”

Neal Crabtree, a welder from Fouke, Ark., Lost his job when Biden withdrew the pipeline’s permit. But he says he has bigger concerns than his own paycheck.

“Now we are seeing rising energy prices,” he said. “Private companies are reluctant to develop new pipelines because of the outrageous licensing process. Pipelines, like roads and bridges in this country, are aging. Neglecting our pipelines is a dangerous thing. We saw how dependent we are on them, as Colonial The pipeline was shut down last year. “

And some energy experts say it’s not just Biden who blocked a pipeline. He blocked Keystone, a project that went beyond issues such as CO2 emissions, safety standards and working with indigenous peoples affected by the pipeline.

TC Energy had promised to operate Keystone as a “net-zero emission level”, the first of its kind in the industry. And working in Canada meant working under some of the strictest environmental and safety regulations in the world.

The pipeline managers had also entered into agreements with Native Americans and entered into a $ 1 billion share agreement with a group of five Alberta and Saskatchewan First Nations.

“I want to say, ‘President Biden, I think you’ve made a bad decision by putting Keystone on the back burner,'” Saskatchewan First Nation chief Alvin Francis said a few days after Biden’s decision. “This could change the outlook for all First Nations in Canada and the United States”

It has certainly changed the mood between Ontario and Washington, DC

Closing Keystone has not strengthened America’s hand with its potential enemies either. Biden has been left in the awkward position of lobbying Congress to keep the Nord Stream 2 pipeline open, though Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to threaten a possible invasion of Ukraine. And less oil from Canada and the US in the global market means more demand for products from Russia, Libya and Venezuela.

Is it possible that Biden would reconsider the Keystone XL after recently contacting OPEC to increase production and help bring gas prices down? Burnett says that’s unlikely.

“Biden imposes on industry methane regulations that the Trump administration decided were not necessary for public health and safety. Biden has agreed to block new natural gas pipelines and new natural gas power plants, so he helps create energy shortages in the United States and approves pipelines from Russia as opposed to send our gas, “Burnett said.

“The bid’s perception seems to be ‘Energy is good for the world, but not for the United States’,” he added.


Chris Woodward covers energy and technology for InsideSources.

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