The Keystone XL Pipeline project — and the jobs that come with it — may still be alive if the attorneys general of nearly half of America’s states have anything to say about it.
On Thursday, according to The Washington Times, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen announced that two more attorneys general, Alaska’s Treg Taylor and Florida’s Ashley Moody, had joined the lawsuit declaring President Joe Biden’s executive order revoking the pipeline’s permit unconstitutional.
That brings the total number of states represented in the lawsuit, which seeks to resurrect the project, to 23.
In addition, the government of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan also announced it would file an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit, which argues the president unconstitutionally changed energy policy set by Congress, which is granted sole authority to regulate foreign and interstate commerce.
“Several exhaustive studies undertaken by the Obama State Department … concluded the Keystone XL pipeline would boost the U.S economy, create American jobs, and safely transport oil throughout the country without increasing greenhouse gas emissions,” read a news release from Knudsen’s office announcing the move. “Despite not having the power to do so, Biden revoked the permit via executive order on his first day in office.
“The Keystone XL pipeline would cross into the United States in northern Montana and pass through six counties — five of which are designated as high-poverty areas — before proceeding through South Dakota and terminating in Nebraska where it would connect to other existing Keystone pipelines that travel to state-of-the-art refining centers predominantly along the Gulf Coast. Seventeen areas in the proposed project area were identified as minority and/or low-income populations.”
Knudsen noted how recent gas disruptions revealed the weak points in America’s energy infrastructure.
“The fallout from the Colonial pipeline cyberattack made it very clear that we need more energy infrastructure, not less. The Keystone XL would get more oil — including Montana oil — to American refineries to be sold to American consumers,” the Montana attorney general said.
“The Constitution is clear that presidents do not have the power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce or to unilaterally undo an act of Congress. We will continue to fight to this federal overreach — along with the 22 other states — so that Montanans can benefit from the jobs, tax revenue, and enhanced energy independence the Keystone XL will bring to our communities.”
“Since his first day in office, President Biden has made it his mission to undo all the progress of the previous administration, with complete disregard for the Constitutional limits on his power. His decision to revoke the pipeline permit is not only unlawful but will also devastate the livelihoods of thousands of workers, their families, and their communities,” Paxton said in a March 17 news release.
“This administration continues to tout imaginary green-energy jobs, without any recognition that their actions in the real world will make it impossible for hard-working Americans to put food on the table.”
The Keystone XL pipeline, if built, would transport 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the tar sands of Canada on toward the Gulf of Mexico. Building it, meanwhile, would create more than 10,000 jobs — “shovel-ready jobs,” as Biden’s former boss was fond of saying.
As widely expected, the pipeline’s permits were terminated by executive order on the first day of Biden’s presidency. The reason was purportedly the negative environmental impact of the pipeline, although Keystone XL has become totemic of the energy tug-of-war between the Democrats and Republicans, one that’s become more pitched in an era where supposedly serious people are seriously considering the tenets of the fatuous, wholly unachievable and titanically expensive Green New Deal.
The Biden administration’s line is that everyone whose job gets axed because of cuts such as eliminating the Keystone XL pipeline project will find new employment in renewable energy.
These plans are never discussed in any kind of detail, they’re just pitched as if Oprah is going to be running around the parking lot of a Pennsylvania coal mine moments after the shift supervisor announces they were going to be shutting the whole operation down: “You get a green job! And you get a green job! And you get a green job!”
“What President Biden wants to do is make sure that those folks have better choices, that they have alternatives, that they can be the people who go to work to make the solar panels,” John Kerry, special presidential envoy for climate, said during a January news conference.
“They were making them here at home. That is going to be a particular focus of the ‘Build Back Better’ agenda, and I think that, unfortunately, workers have been fed a false narrative, no surprise, for the past few years.
“They’ve been fed the notion somehow that dealing with climate is going at their expense. No, it’s not.”
John Kerry is asked what his message would be to oil and gas workers who “see an end to their livelihoods”:
“What President Biden wants to do is make sure that those folks have better choices… That they can be the people to go to work to make the solar panels.” pic.twitter.com/i9TYXlD9Jg
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) January 27, 2021
Never mind that the imminent demise of oil, gas and coal is likely much like that of Mark Twain: greatly exaggerated.
Never mind, too, that there isn’t anything close to a 1:1 correlation between a current job in carbon-based energy and a future one in renewable energy; the skills of an oil worker aren’t necessarily transmissible to the skills of wind-turbine manufacture, nor is that work necessarily done most efficiently in the same location, nor do the jobs carry equivalent pay and benefits.
As it turns out, those jobs aren’t even there in the first place.
Washington Post chief fact-checker Glenn Kessler noted that “at the White House, Kerry mentioned these statistics in the context of coal mining jobs — ‘The same people can do those jobs’ — which before the pandemic amounted to [a total of] about 50,000 jobs (and [of those] about 30,000 below surface).”
“In sum, no,” Kessler wrote. “Wind turbine jobs are projected to go up by 4,300, from 7,000 to 11,300 in 10 years. The solar installer jobs are projected to go up 6,100, from 12,000 to 18,100. That’s a total increase of just 10,400 jobs — leaving 20,000 coal workers still toiling in the mines. (Oops, we got a bit carried away with our language in an earlier version of this article, so have corrected the previous sentence. The 50,000-figure refers to all workers in the coal-mining industry; there are a little over 30,000 workers who work underground.)”
Kessler is wrong with great frequency, but these errors can usually be correlated with his political leanings; if he’s willing to go so far as to call out John Kerry over green jobs, you can have some assurance this particular fact-check is accurate.
The Keystone XL Pipeline has passed rigorous environmental checks, provides one of the most efficient ways for carbon energy to move over great distances and creates good-paying jobs for Americans.
Biden, meanwhile, has created only one energy job that I know of: that of the absurd special presidential envoy for climate, filled by the equally absurd John Kerry.
Given the chances he finds jobs in solar for the displaced Keystone XL workers, one hopes this lawsuit succeeds — or brings the administration to its senses.
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