Infrastructure Bill Includes Provision to Study Job Loss Impact of Keystone XL Cancellation

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The newly unveiled 2,702-page bipartisan infrastructure bill includes a provision to study the job loss and impacts on consumer energy costs of President Joe Biden’s decision to revoke the Keystone XL pipeline project permit.

Section 40434 of the bipartisan package (pdf), which senators released on Sunday, calls on Jennifer Granholm, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, to study and report on the total number of jobs lost as a direct or indirect result of Biden’s executive order that axed the pipeline.

Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office that halted the Keystone Pipeline project, saying the move was part of his administration’s larger agenda to tackle a projected climate crisis.

Biden signed the order on his first day in office, saying that the Keystone XL pipeline “disserves the U.S. national interest” and the decision to pull the permit was part of his administration’s broader agenda to fight the “climate crisis,” which “must be met with action on a scale and at a speed commensurate with the need to avoid setting the world on a dangerous, potentially catastrophic, climate trajectory.”

The infrastructure bill provision also calls on Granholm to study and report on the impact of the Keystone cancellation on consumer energy costs, with both reports to be presented to Congress within 90 days of enactment of the bill.

While Biden’s decision to revoke the Keystone XL permit was hailed by his supporters and many environmentalists, most Republicans and industry groups criticized the move, saying it would lead to job losses, though it remains unclear just how many.

Days after Biden moved to revoke the permit, the GOP’s official Twitter account estimated that the cancellation would eliminate 11,000 jobs in the United States “at a time when millions of Americans need work.”

The premier of Alberta, Canada’s biggest oil producing province, said following Biden’s executive order that cancelling the pipeline would kill thousands of union labor jobs in both Canada and the United States, while making America more dependent on foreign “dictatorships” for its energy needs.

Canada-based energy company TC Energy, the project owner, said that Biden’s move “would directly lead to the layoff of thousands of union workers and negatively impact ground-breaking industry commitments to use new renewable energy as well as historic equity partnerships with Indigenous communities.”

The State Department determined in 2014 (pdf) that the Keystone XL pipeline project would support a total of 42,100 jobs and create roughly 3,900 direct jobs in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas over what was expected to be one or two years of construction.

After the pipeline entered service, operations would require around 50 employees in the United States, including 35 permanent employees and 15 temporary contractors, the State Department found.

While construction of Keystone XL would contribute roughly $3.4 billion to U.S. gross domestic product, according to a National Regulatory Research Institute review of State Department estimates (pdf), the pipeline would also offer tax revenues for local and state governments. Property taxes resulting from the project would generate roughly $55.6 million in Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.