• May 9, 2021

Labor union chief knocks Biden for canceling the Keystone XL pipeline

 Labor union chief knocks Biden for canceling the Keystone XL pipeline

Photo by INVESTIGATOR_51 TIME TO STAND UP AND BE HEARD

A key union ally of President Biden is panning his nixing the Keystone XL pipeline, a decision that wedges Biden between labor and environmental groups.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, a Biden supporter, agreed with a statement by the Laborers’ International Union of North America during a media interview. That organization had estimated Biden’s Keystone XL decision would cost 1,000 existing union jobs and 10,000 projected construction roles.

“I wish he hadn’t done that on the first day,” Trumka told Axios in a sit-down that aired Sunday.

He added, “I wish he had paired that more carefully with the thing that he did second by saying, ‘Here’s where we’re creating jobs.’ We can do mine reclamation, we can fix leaks, and we can fix seeps, and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in doing all that stuff.”

Biden has long described himself as a “union guy,” reiterating how labor “brought him to the dance” since his first political campaigns in Delaware during the 1970s. As part of that push, his team has proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour in his $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan,” though Biden himself has suggested those provisions likely will be removed due to Senate budget procedures.

Yet on Inauguration Day, he canceled the presidential permits required for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have carried oil almost 1,200 miles from Canada to Nebraska. Former President Donald Trump had overturned the Obama administration’s 2015 decision to block the pipeline after pressure from environmental and Native American groups.

Yet on Inauguration Day, he canceled the presidential permits required for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have carried oil almost 1,200 miles from Canada to Nebraska. Former President Donald Trump had overturned the Obama administration’s 2015 decision to block the pipeline after pressure from environmental and Native American groups.

[Related: ‘They are playing with our lives’: South Dakotans left on their knees by Keystone pipeline decision]

Trumka’s displeasure shows how Biden repeatedly will be pulled in opposite directions by the environment-minded liberal wing of his party and organized labor. So far, he and his team have tried pushing or enacting policies aimed at pleasing one side only to quickly discover how upset the other faction becomes as the differences spill into public view.

The Keystone XL pipeline was set to complement an existing network conveying oil to Gulf of Mexico refineries and ports. While its construction would have boosted regional oil supplies, decreasing prices, and dependence on overseas sources, environmentalists have been concerned about the damage it will cause as it is being built and if there were any spills.

After a long pause, Trumka also dodged a question on whether he backed Biden’s plan to ban fracking on federal land.

“I think it needs to be looked at and studied and carefully thought through,” he said.

Biden’s messaging regarding fracking, or hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas or oil from hard rock such as shale, has been mixed. Despite repeatedly saying he wanted to prohibit the process during the campaign, he later insisted that meant ruling out federal subsidies.

“Unlike previous administrations, I don’t think the federal government should give handouts to big oil to the tune of $40 billion in fossil fuel subsidies. And I’m going to be going to the Congress asking them to eliminate those subsidies,” he said last month.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, too, has criticized Biden over his Keystone XL pipeline decision.

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BIDEN NOT MY PRESIDENT

Editor @Investigator_51

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