Activists look to the future of oil pipelines following Keystone XL cancellation
Energy jobs activists are pushing back by warning of increased costs and touting the benefits of transporting oil via pipeline.
After the cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline struck a blow to the oil industry, energy jobs activists are pushing back by warning of increased costs and touting the benefits of transporting oil via pipeline.
TC Energy Corporation announced on Wednesday that it was cancelling the Keystone XL Pipeline less than five months after President Joe Biden rescinded a vital permit for the pipeline. The cancellation ends an over 12-year battle by activists from both sides over the oil pipeline. The pipeline would have started in the Canadian province of Alberta ultimately ending in Nebraska.
In a statement François Poirier, President and CEO of TC Energy Corporation, expressed disappointment.
“We value the strong relationships we’ve built through the development of this Project and the experience we’ve gained,” Poirier said. “We remain grateful to the many organizations that supported the Project and would have shared in its benefits.”
The announcement comes as gas prices have risen by over a dollar nationwide in the past year, according to the American Automobile Association.
In the immediate aftermath of the announcement, several Democratic politicians celebrated the decision. Rep. Nanette Barragán, D-Calif., called it a “fantastic win for everyone fighting for a stable climate and clean water."
Republicans expressed dismay over the cancellation of the pipeline project.
As anti-pipeline activists celebrated the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline as a triumph of years of demonstrations and organization against the project, pro-pipeline activists saw the cancellation as a frustrating end to a long-fought battle.
Daniel Turner, founder and executive director of Power The Future, an energy workers activist group, said the cancellation of the Keystone XL project as a costly outcome for workers and consumers.
“The losers are clearly the American people…because they just de-facto made energy more expensive,” Turner said. “The losers are the thousands of workers many of whom I have met and interviewed, who we have profiled on our website, who don’t have a job.”
Critics have also said the defeat of the Keystone Pipeline may have negative effects on other pipelines in the U.S., which may lead to a further rise in energy costs for consumers. This comes as The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report Thursday which indicates a 5% jump in consumer prices year-to-year.
“This is an industry now that has really technical really specialized skills and now they have…a skill set that is valueless,” Turner said. “That’s monstrous to think that this Joe Biden administration—‘Scranton Joe,’ ‘Blue-Collar Joe’— would punish workers, American workers, like this for pure political ideology.”
Another issue activists point out with the cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline is the fragility of these permits for these projects. Shortly after entering office in 2017, Former President Donald Trump approved permits for the construction of the pipeline, an executive order Biden would reverse in his first day of office earlier this year.
“It should scare any American that one President has the power to shut down industry because he doesn’t like his predecessor,” Turner said. “It is government overreach at its worst point.”
As the fight for the Keystone XL pipeline comes to an end, the fight for activists to expose corruption of green initiatives and other energy decisions continues.
“We talk about ‘big oil’ when are we gonna talk about ‘big green’ because a lot of people are gonna get extremely rich in this transition to green technology—it's not the American people, it's not the American workers, but it is the well-connected shareholders and Wall Street friends of the Biden Administration,” Turner said. “Shining a light on that, holding them accountable, publicly shaming them, that is what we will be doing for the foreseeable future.”
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