FILE PHOTO: Deer gather at a depot used to store pipes for the planned Keystone XL oil pipeline in Gascoyne, North Dakota, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester/File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE: DEEP DIVE

As the disputes over Keystone XL raged on for more than a decade, the pipeline became a symbol of the struggle between fossil fuels and environmentalists instead of a way to carry oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. 

President Joe Biden picked his side when he revoked the permit last week, stating that leaving the permit “would not be consistent with my Administration’s economic and climate imperatives.” Biden’s actions regarding the pipeline symbolized his determination to make a dent in what he considers to be a global climate crisis and acted as a preview for what was to come. Several days later, he issued more executive orders targeting greenhouse gas emissions and halting drilling on federal land, kicking off what he hopes will be a shift to clean energy and creating millions of jobs in the so-called green economy

Those green jobs, critics say, come at the cost of thousands of good-paying, current jobs. TC Energy will eliminate more than 1,000 positions in the coming weeks. Keystone would have sustained 11,000 jobs in the U.S., the company said. One Keystone welder laid off as a result of the order said Biden’s administration was “hearing us but they just don’t care.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) shredded Climate Czar John Kerry for suggesting that the oil industry workers could get new jobs making solar panels: “What an arrogant, out-of-touch statement for a centimillionaire to say,” Cruz said.

Republicans are already suggesting that Biden’s Keystone decision and climate orders will hurt Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections, and the president even faced resistance from his own party when four U.S. Democratic representatives from Texas, the top oil-producing state, urged Biden to reconsider. Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Biden’s pick to lead the Department of Energy, faced heat from senators from both parties who questioned her about some workers being left behind by Biden’s energy plan during her confirmation hearing. Granholm said the transition to clean energy could create 10 million jobs.

Officials from Alberta, whose sticky sand pits provided the 800,000 barrels of oil a day that the pipeline would have carried to the gulf, said their prospects depended on oil and gas, and killing the pipeline meant killing their economic future. Alberta’s premier, Jason Kenney, called it a “gut punch” and called for sanctions against the U.S., though Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while critical of the pipeline decision, didn’t seem to desire to go that far. 

Stopping the pipeline, in part, was the result of years of indigenous activism and environmentalists who battled the pipeline since the idea was proposed. Both groups cheered Biden, including the Sierra Club, who lauded Biden’s first week in office as the most productive yet for environmental protections. Both groups were concerned that if the pipeline cracked, it would damage critical water supplies along the route and destroy the habitat of many endangered species. 

“President Joe Biden has already taken more executive action on climate change and the environment in his first week in office than any president before him,” the Sierra Club wrote on its website. 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.

Fact Checker: Ted Cruz pumps up Keystone job numbers – Washington Post – 1/26/2021
The Fact Checker has a long history of looking into puffed-up job estimates for the Keystone XL pipeline, an international energy project that stalled through the administrations of Barack Obama and Donald Trump and now appears frozen.

Keystone XL Highlights Dangers of Putting Investors Before Climate Change – The National Interest – 1/28/2021
U.S. President Joe Biden, to the surprise of no one but Kenney, followed through on an election promise and cancelled a key permit for the pipeline on the first day of his administration. Now the premier is scrambling for a way to recoup some of Alberta’s losses, and he sees a trade agreement as offering some hope.

Ease Up on the Executive Actions, Joe – New York Times – 1/27/2021
These moves are being met with cheers by Democrats and others eager to see the legacy of Donald Trump’s presidency dismantled posthaste. Republicans, meanwhile, are grumbling about presidential overreach and accusing Mr. Biden of betraying his pledge to seek unity.In other words, things are going the same way they often do in Washington. 

Keystone XL: Why I fought for – or against – the pipeline – BBC News – 1/27/2021
The move has halted construction of the nearly 1,200 mile (1,930 km) cross-country US-Canada project. It’s the latest – and possibly final – chapter in an effort to build the pipeline that has led to protests, legal battles and political lobbying that have now spanned the administrations of three US presidents.Here, in their own words, are some of the people – ranchers, politicians and environmental activists – on either side of this decade-long fight.

Biden killed the Keystone Pipeline. Good, but he doesn’t get a climate pass just yet – The Guardian – 1/28/2021
Joe Biden scrapping the Keystone XL permit is a huge win for the Indigenous-led climate movement. It not only overturns Trump’s reversal of Obama’s 2015 rejection of the pipeline but is also a major blow to the US fossil fuel industry and the world’s largest energy economy and per-capita carbon polluter.

Eyes on the future: An open letter to President Biden on Indigenous Peoples – Mongabay Environmental News – 1/28/2021
Dear President Biden, Congratulations to you and Vice President Harris on your historic election. We pray for the success of your administration and your efforts to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, reduce global conflicts, respond to challenges presented by global climate change, and restore the ecological integrity of the planet.

Biden Opens New Fronts In His War On U.S. Oil And Gas – Forbes – 1/28/2021
The attacks on the domestic oil and gas business by the Biden/Harris administration are coming at such a rapid pace now that it’s hard to keep up with them all, which of course is a part of the overall strategy at play. What better way to cripple a major American industry, after all, than for the national government to overwhelm its ability to adequately respond?

Goodbye To The (Unneeded) Keystone XL Pipeline – National Memo – 1/28/2021
But the Keystone XL pipeline was an artifact from an earlier time. When it was proposed in 2008, the price of crude had jumped to over $120 a barrel, causing some to fret that the energy supply would fall short of demand.

Pipelines are safest for the environment – Journal Times – 1/28/2021
It was the third flip-flop for the U.S. on the pipeline, which was first proposed more than a dozen years ago. President Barack Obama nixed it with an executive order, saying we have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them or we would risk large parts of the earth becoming uninhabitable.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of tweets showing different viewpoints on the topic.

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