The decision delighted advocates of the so-called “Green New Deal,” but will disappoint Biden’s own political allies in the trade union movement, who had backed the pipeline for the thousands of jobs it would create.
As Breitbart News
reported last year:
The Keystone XL pipeline would run from Canada’s oil sands in Alberta across the border and into Nebraska. From there, the oil would be pumped through existing pipelines to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. The project passed environmental reviews under the Obama administration, but was stalled due to opposition from environmental groups concerned about climate. (Supporters of the pipeline noted the oil would be extracted, regardless: the alternative was export to China.)
President Donald Trump issued an
executive order on his third full day in office effectively giving the green light to Keystone XL, inviting it to re-apply for permits and instructing federal agencies to move the project along rapidly.
Biden, who is the presumptive Democratic Party nominee,
promised in May that he would stop the Keystone XL pipeline “for good” if he was elected president.
Four labor unions — the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA), and the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters — reached a project labor agreement (PLA) last August with TC Energy, the Canadian company responsible for the pipeline.
But it may all be to no avail, as
Politico reported Sunday evening:
President-elect Joe Biden will rescind the cross-border permit for TC Energy’s Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office, three sources confirm to POLITICO.
The move is billed as one of Biden’s Day One climate change actions, according to a presentation circulating among Washington trade groups and lobbyists, a portion of which was seen by POLITICO. The decision was not included in incoming chief of staff Ron Klain’s
Saturday memo outlining Biden’s planned executive actions during the first days of his presidency.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a co-sponsor of the “Green New Deal,” welcomed the news of Keystone XL’s cancelation:
Sanders did not mention the unions, nor the workers on the pipeline, or the jobs that would be created in related industries.
Conservatives have defended the pipeline as environmentally sound, as well as helpful for America’s energy security. But liberals have targeted it as a symbol of the fossil fuel industry.
Biden also reportedly intends to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement upon taking office, though even climate experts admitted it did little to curb emissions. The U.S. has reduced emissions even while opting out of the Paris accord, and even while growing the economy — thanks in large part to the fracking industry, which has assisted in moving the U.S. from coal to natural gas as a cleaner-burning energy source.