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Douglas Andrews / February 16, 2021

Saving Keystone From Joe Biden’s Pen

Republicans aren’t giving up on the thousands of jobs Biden’s order killed.

That Joe Biden would sign an executive order revoking the permit for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office tells us a lot about his disregard for flyover country and the folks who live there.

No discussion, no deliberation, and not even a pretense of living up to the promise he made in his inaugural speech to “work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as those who did.”

But that’s Joe Biden. Promises made, promises broken.

As we noted two weeks ago, Keystone was about much more than merely getting oil from A to B. It was about opportunities, dreams, jobs, and lives. It was about real people — not Beltway elitists like Joe and Kamala and John Kerry and Sandy Cortez.

The 1,700-mile pipeline was expected to carry some 800,000 barrels of oil per day from the oil sands of the western Canadian province of Alberta to the Bakken formation spanning eastern Montana and western North Dakota, where it would be mixed with American light crude and then sent southward to our refineries in Texas. Was expected — until Joe Biden canceled it with the stroke of a pen.

The Washington Examiner’s Barnini Chakraborty has been chronicling the very real human costs of the Keystone XL cancellation: “‘Once Joe sat down with his stack of executive orders, and he got to the KXL pipeline, that was it,’ Peter Bardeson, business manager for the Laborers, Local 620 union in Sioux Falls, told the Washington Examiner. ‘Our guys were told by the contractors on site that Joe killed the job.’ Bardeson, who has been involved with three cross-country pipelines, had about 60 laborers working at three of the six pump sites in South Dakota when the news of the cancellation hit. Local 620 members began working on location in June and were expected to stay on the job until March. Bardeson estimates that the cancellation of the pipeline cost the union 60,000 hours and $1.6 million in lost wages.”

House Republicans, to their credit, aren’t quite ready to call it quits on Keystone or the thousands of people whose lives have been turned upside down by its cancellation. As the Examiner’s Kerry Picket reports, “The administration of President Donald Trump approved the project, but Biden nixed it because, it said, a pipeline rupture posed imminent environmental threats. But for House Republicans, within striking distance of winning a House majority in 2022, it’s an opportunity to paint the Biden administration as a job-killer. Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the GOP campaign arm, [said], "House Democrats are going to pay the price for their job-killing, anti-energy agenda.”

Let’s hope so. This was a bad decision by Joe Biden — an America Last decision — and the GOP must shackle him and his party to it.

So much for the once-proud Democrats as the party of labor. And so much for ol’ Scranton Joe and those high-paying union jobs he’s always claimed to be “fighting” for. What we had here was part of what Matthew Continetti dubbed a wealth-redistributing clawback of red state prosperity on behalf of business-hostile blue states and their Democrat benefactors.

And at least one Democrat, West Virginia’s senior senator, Joe Manchin, recognizes the folly of this decision. His state, after all, went for Donald Trump by 39 points. Last week, he penned a letter to Biden, asking him to reconsider. “I encourage you to let these processes proceed as intended,” he wrote, “and to not let politics drive the decisions on the development and operation of our nation’s vital energy infrastructure.”

Manchin is only one Democrat, of course. But it’s a start.

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