President Joe Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL oil pipeline permit was just one in a series of early executive orders reversing the policies of his predecessor.
According to one now-unemployed pipeline worker, the new president’s act was “totally political” and will cost American jobs.
“By signing a piece of paper”
“Well, I mean, the president was able to, you know, put us out of work by signing a piece of paper, but I’m the one that had to let these people in and tell them I didn’t have a job anymore,” Neal Crabtree said in remarks to Fox News.
He is a member of Pipeliners Local Union 798, which is one of four labor unions impacted by Biden’s cancelation. In all, the industry is set to lose some 11,000 jobs this year.
Crabtree and others in the union were working on a pumping station in Nebraska when they were informed of the layoffs.
“Unless you farm, there’s not a whole lot of opportunity,” he said of the job prospects in his rural Arkansas hometown. “So I chose this career. We go all over the country and we depend on these projects to provide a living for our families.”
The politically volatile pipeline was designed to carry crude oil from Canada into the U.S. faster and more efficiently than existing railroad transport.
“Some things will change very quickly”
Biden cited environmental concerns in announcing his predictable decision to cancel its permit, but Crabtree and other critics of the order argue that the pipeline would actually be a more environmentally friendly option.
“This oil is already coming into the country,” Crabtree said. “This pipeline wasn’t going to be the start of it. It’s coming by rail cars every single day, hundreds of thousands of them.”
He went on to dismiss the notion that the government creates jobs, arguing that it “can, however, destroy jobs and kill jobs,” which he said the president did with his recent order.
Although Biden has targeted many of former President Donald Trump’s policies with recent executive action, Yale law professor Cristina Rodriguez explained that it will take more than these orders to fundamentally dismantle the achievements of the last four years.
“Some things will change very quickly,” she said. “The things that the president has the authority over, he can rescind right away. He can end the border wall emergency. He can restore travel from the majority-Muslim countries, COVID restrictions notwithstanding. But there are many things that will take far more time to undo because the president himself doesn’t have the authority to do that. He has to direct other people to begin consideration of those policies and their rescission.”