‘A Tale Of Two Pipelines’

The Contrast Is Undeniable: President Biden Cancelled A Pipeline That Would Create American Jobs And Support An American Ally Yet Allowed A Pipeline That Will Help The Russian Economy And Embolden An American Adversary


SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “[T]wo weeks ago, the President left for Europe having already given the Kremlin two other gifts: a high-profile summit that experts predicted Putin would use to help legitimize his regime at home and abroad, and a waiver of sanctions on the Russian-owned company behind a lucrative gas pipeline project…. I’ll repeat for President Biden the same warning I offered to the previous administration: The Kremlin is not our friend. And it’s high time our actions started reflecting that. Back home, of course, the Biden Administration has proven it knows perfectly well how to crack down on energy pipeline projects when it wants to. In fact, on the day he left for Europe, the firm behind the Keystone XL pipeline project announced that the President’s revocation of its construction permit would be fatal, after all. What a striking image: The President of the United States heads overseas and meets with a major adversary whom he had just handed a major geopolitical win. And the last nail goes in the coffin on the job-killing crusade against reliable North American energy that he made a Day One priority. It’s a tale of two pipelines. The decisive rejection of thousands of American jobs at home, and the empowerment of America’s adversaries abroad.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 6/23/2021)

  • “Here in Congress, opposition to the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has been vigorous and bipartisan. Last year’s defense authorization, which earned 84 votes here in the Senate, expanded the scope of sanctions against critical entities involved in its construction. We’re talking about a project that would give Putin a new artery of influence in Western Europe and rob Ukraine of critical leverage over the way Russian energy currently flows throughout the region. But apparently, the Biden Administration’s own opposition to the project was just rhetorical. When the chips were down, the President used a waiver to avoid having to place sanctions on the biggest company behind the project and its CEO, a Putin crony. According to reports, his decision even overruled the objections of senior diplomats and the concerns of his own Secretary of State. Oddly enough, the Administration’s decision to snuff out union jobs in the energy sector here at home didn’t seem to prompt as vigorous an internal debate. In fact, President Biden’s executive action to kill Keystone XL has been followed by a steady stream of radical proposals that illustrate just how deep his administration is in thrall to the environmentalist fringe…. [I]f you hit ‘pause’ on Washington Democrats’ radical climate rhetoric, you’ll notice that smart energy policy isn’t limited by political stripe. For years, the liberal government of Canada has recognized pipelines as a safe and efficient way to connect people with affordable and reliable energy and grow what is already the largest sector of U.S.-Canada trade. So it was hardly surprising to hear one Canadian official greet President Biden’s decision to sink the Keystone XL pipeline as, quote, ‘an insult’… or to read that the Canadian firm behind the project is now pursuing legal action to recoup its investment. Capitulation to our rivals, and painful blows to our neighbors. Legitimizing corrupt foreign leaders and jamming hardworking Americans. Whatever his motives, and despite his own rhetoric, the consequences of President Biden’s actions are clear.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 6/23/2021)

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY), Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member: “President Biden killed the Keystone XL Pipeline and with it, thousands of good-paying American jobs. On Inauguration Day, the president signed an executive order that ended pipeline construction and handed one thousand workers pink slips. Now, ten times that number of jobs will never be created. At a time when gasoline prices are spiking, the White House is celebrating the death of a pipeline that would have helped bring Americans relief.” (Sen. Barrasso, Press Release, 6/09/2021)


On His First Day In Office, President Biden Cancelled The Keystone XL Pipeline, ‘The Second Time A Democratic Administration Has Scuttled The $8 Billion Project In Less Than A Decade’

“The Canadian pipeline company that had long sought to build the Keystone XL pipeline announced [in June] that it had terminated the embattled project, which would have carried petroleum from Canadian tar sands to Nebraska. The announcement was the death knell for a project that had been on life support since President Biden’s first day in office and had been stalled by legal battles for years before that, despite support from the Trump administration.” (“The Keystone XL Pipeline Project Has Been Terminated,” The New York Times, 6/09/2021)

“President Joe Biden formally announced on [January 20th] he was revoking a key permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, the second time a Democratic administration has scuttled the $8 billion project in less than a decade. Biden’s action was part of a series of executive orders on his first day in office …” (“Biden Kills Keystone XL Permit, Again,” Politico, 1/20/2021)


Biden’s Ideologically Driven Decision Eliminated 1,000 Positions As Laid-Off Pipeline Workers Were Left To Lament, ‘They Are Taking My Jobs Away’

“In an email to staff [in January] obtained by POLITICO, Keystone XL chief Richard Prior said the permit denial would force the company to cut more than 1,000 positions. ‘Over 1,000 positions will be eliminated in the coming weeks, the majority of these unionized workers representing the building trades,’ he wrote.” (“Biden Kills Keystone XL Permit, Again,” Politico, 1/20/2021)

“The cancellation of Keystone XL not only ended the billion-dollar pipe dream for the oil industry, but it also resulted in the loss of jobs— and economic opportunities— for thousands of workers. That ripple effect fell on Lynn Allen, who was laid off from the Keystone XL pipeline project following President Biden’s announcement. Allen, a father of three, had been working as a welder for 34 years. ‘I got boys to raise, boys to put through college and, you know what, they are taking my jobs away and I don’t expect the government to pay my way in life,’ Allen told FOX Business.” (“Biden’s Keystone XL Pipeline Cancellation Leaves Laid-Off Workers Begging For Answers: ‘They Are Taking My Jobs Away,’” Fox Business, 2/05/2021)

  • “[Ron] Berringer, 60, is a union steward from Clarinda, Iowa, who has worked on pipelines for decades across seven states — just like his father before him and his three brothers today…. The sense of community, plus good benefits and wages, are what make pipeline work so appealing. Berringer said he’s scheduled to work six days a week, ten hours a day, meaning there’s the constant promise of twenty hours of overtime. He calls it the best job he ever had — his ‘bread and butter.’ Without that financial boost, Berringer says his future looks ‘gloomy.’ He can no longer plan on replacing his pickup truck, which has logged 450,000 miles building pipelines. And he’ll have to reduce the financial help he’s used to sending his two adult daughters. Before the pipeline construction was halted, Berringer said friends inside and outside his union, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) Local 1140 in Omaha, approached him ‘daily’ to ask about  working on Keystone. He said people were often confused about the pipeline’s fate because construction stopped and started as a result of Obama and Trump executive orders.” (“‘It Makes You Want To Give Up.’ Keystone Workers Feel Left Behind By Biden Executive Orders,” CBS News, 2/04/2021)
  • “To these workers, pipelining is more than a livelihood. As a member of LiUNA Local 620, Tyler Noel, 33, said the bonds he’s forged working on pipelines for thirteen years is ‘the only thing I’ve got right now.’ Noel is based in Aberdeen, South Dakota, but spent the last five and a half months of 2020 working on Keystone, about 215 miles away in Murdo, South Dakota. Pipeline laborers relocate for long periods of time during construction, often living in local motels or hauling their own campers…. Without the promise of Keystone, Noel finds himself at a ‘crossroads.’ Work in Murdo ended in December. He has not received a stimulus check. As a result, Noel has been forced to refinance his truck and knows others who have refinanced their homes…. Noel is worried about the possibility that the Biden administration could revoke other pipeline opportunities, especially since he’ll need to accrue more hours on the job in order to be eligible for his pension. ’Anything that was coming in the next few months was supposed to be Keystone,’ he said. ‘If I hadn’t saved my money through the years I would really be in a bind. But I’d say I’ve got at least three months, then I’m gonna have to do something.’” (“‘It Makes You Want To Give Up.’ Keystone Workers Feel Left Behind By Biden Executive Orders,” CBS News, 2/04/2021)
  • “Climate Envoy John Kerry told reporters that workers in the oil and gas industry ‘can be the people who go to work to make the solar panels.’ But Berringer and Noel aren’t convinced. Both said their best hope is to find work maintaining existing pipelines. Berringer, who is now working at a power plant in Omaha, says he’s worked on wind turbine installation in the past and found the work to be ‘piddly’ and less satisfying because it doesn’t offer the same overtime benefits as pipeline work…. For Noel, the idea of transitioning from his long-practiced trade to a new one is ‘just crazy.’ ‘It’s easy for welders,’ he said. ‘I’m a foreman. My trade is in labor. The money is so much better running a crew. I wouldn’t be anywhere near that doing a wind turbine, which I’ve never done.’” (“‘It Makes You Want To Give Up.’ Keystone Workers Feel Left Behind By Biden Executive Orders,” CBS News, 2/04/2021)


Despite President Biden’s Assurances To Stand ‘Shoulder-To-Shoulder With Our Allies And Key Partners,’ He Ignored Pleas ‘From Multiple Canadian Government Officials’ To Salvage Keystone XL, With The Alberta Premier Calling The Decision An ‘Insult’

PRESIDENT BIDEN: “As I said in my inaugural address, we will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again … America’s alliances are our greatest asset, and leading with diplomacy means standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies and key partners once again.” (“Remarks by President Biden on America’s Place in the World,” U.S. State Department Headquarters, Washington, DC, 2/04/2021)

“Mr. Biden’s permit cancellation was a major setback for Canadian oil producers and the Canadian government, which had urged Mr. Biden to help salvage the $8 billion project immediately after his election.” (“Keystone XL Oil Project Abandoned by Developer,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/09/2021)

“The decision came despite pleas to Biden from multiple Canadian government officials to give them time to make their case for the 1,200-mile pipeline, which they argue has dramatically changed for the better, environmentally, since it was first proposed in 2008.” (“Biden Kills Keystone XL Permit, Again,” Politico, 1/20/2021)

  • “Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Biden’s decision is a gut punch for his province, which has a stake in the project. ‘It is a insult directed at the United States most important ally and trading partner on day one of a new administration,’ Kenney said. ‘The leader of our closest ally retroactively vetoed approval for a pipeline that exists and which is co-owned by Canadian government, directly attacking by far the largest part of the Canada U.S. trade relationship, which is our energy industry and exports.’” (“Keystone XL Pipeline Halted As Biden Revokes Permit,” The Associated Press, 1/20/2021)


Senators From States Keystone XL Would Have Benefitted: ‘This Will Hurt Us Both Economically And Environmentally For Years To Come … It’s Clear That The President Listened To The Loudest Left-Wing Voices In The Room Rather Than Looking At The Facts’

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): “It’s a tale of two pipelines: our president has decided to allow the construction of Nord Stream 2, a Russian pipeline that will leave our European allies more vulnerable to Russia, and halted construction of Keystone XL, a pipeline that would create 11,000 American jobs and transport Canadian and American crude oil in the most environmentally safe way. Unfortunately, it feels like the president is picking Russia’s energy monopoly, to the detriment of America and South Dakota’s energy independence, and putting politics over practicality.” (Sen. Thune, Op-Ed, 6/04/2021)

SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (R-SD): “President Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline Project is a huge mistake… This will hurt us both economically and environmentally for years to come. Now, instead of using an efficient and environmentally friendly pipeline to transport petroleum, petroleum will be transported by road and rail which is much more dangerous. TC Energy had committed to net zero emissions across the project. It’s clear that the president listened to the loudest left-wing voices in the room rather than looking at the facts.” (Sen. Rounds, Press Release, 6/10/2021)

SEN. STEVE DAINES (R-MT): “This is devastating news for our economy, jobs, environment and national security—and its entirely President Biden’s fault. It’s beyond clear that President Biden is beholden to extreme environmentalists, and Montanans and the American people are bearing the burden. While President Biden killed the American Keystone XL pipeline, he continues to support the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Biden would rather support Russian workers and jobs than Americans. Montanans and the American people are disappointed.” (Sen. Daines, Press Release, 6/09/2021)


In Contrast, Biden Ignored The Recommendation Of The State Department And Waived Sanctions On Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

“The Biden administration waived sanctions on the company behind Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany and its chief executive, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday, a move decried by critics of the project in Congress. A State Department report sent to Congress concluded that Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO, Matthias Warnig, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, engaged in sanctionable activity. But Blinken immediately waived those sanctions, saying that it was in the U.S. national interest.” (“U.S. Waives Sanctions On Nord Stream 2 As Biden Seeks To Mend Europe Ties,” Reuters, 5/19/2021)

“Last month’s decision to withhold sanctions against the company and CEO behind the nearly completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline was particularly divisive. Critics of the pipeline, which would transport natural gas from Russia to Germany, view its imminent completion and operation as a major geopolitical coup for the Kremlin. The State Department, in a position backed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, his deputy Wendy Sherman and Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland, recommended a raft of U.S. sanctions intended to block the pipeline, without waivers for the company or chief executive, said officials familiar with the decision. Biden, backed by top aides on the National Security Council, disagreed, arguing that the move would inflame relations with Germany, a key ally that views attempts to block the pipeline as a violation of its sovereignty. With the pipeline over 90 percent complete, White House officials viewed the project as a fait accompli that was not worth jeopardizing the U.S.-Germany relationship over.” (“Amid Internal Disputes Over Russia Policy, Biden Has Chosen A Mix Of Confrontation And Cooperation,” The Washington Post, 6/15/2021)

Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Project Will Be Ready To Transport Natural Gas ‘Within A Few Months’

“Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas project will start preparations [June 11th] to fill the first of two pipelines with natural gas within a few months, the Gazprom-led project said [June 10th]. Nord Stream 2, which runs on the bed of the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, bypassing Ukraine, has faced criticism from the United States, which says it will increase European reliance on Russian gas…. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week the project was ready to start pumping gas to Germany and the final stretch would be completed as the new U.S. administration seeks good relations with ‘key partners in Europe.’ Nord Stream 2 said on Thursday works on the second pipeline were still underway. Putin said last week Russia was set to finish the second pipeline within two months.” (“Nord Stream 2 to start work on filling pipeline on Friday,” Reuters, 6/10/2021)


Senate Republicans: ‘Biden Allowing The Completion Of Projects Like The Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Are A Threat To European Energy Security. This Type Of Weakness Only Encourages Putin's Aggression’

SENS. TED CRUZ (R-TX), RON JOHNSON (R-WI), AND JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): “President Biden has signaled the U.S. is back to repeating the same decades of Democrat geopolitical policy failures during his first trip abroad. Biden allowing the completion of projects like the Nord Stream 2 pipeline are a threat to European energy security. This type of weakness only encourages Putin's aggression; he's not paying a significant price for his malign activities, and with decisions like these, this administration is only encouraging him. President Biden is sending a message of weakness and appeasement to our adversaries, encouraging and emboldening them. It is precisely the wrong message to send.” (Sens. Cruz, Johnson, and Barrsasso, Press Release, 6/16/2021)



Related Issues: Keystone XL Pipeline, Russia, Energy, Jobs