Within hours of saying “So help me God,” the newly minted President Joe Biden, with the stroke of his pen, added thousands of American blue-collar, middle-class workers to the unemployment line while the coronavirus continues to rage.
Among a blizzard of executive orders signed on Inauguration Day afternoon, the president canceled the Keystone XL pipeline under construction to transport Canadian oil to the continental U.S. and halted the building of the wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.
Mr. Biden also re-committed the United States to the spurious Paris Climate Accord that mandates the U.S. and other western industrialized nations—but not China and India, our global economic competitors—to reduce carbon emissions. Also in the works is a moratorium on new energy development leases on federal lands and waters.
Shutting the Keystone pipeline, re-entering the Paris Treaty, and imposing energy moratoriums will make thousands of Americans jobless, increase the price of energy for American households and companies, and make the U.S. more dependent on energy from overseas. This is only the beginning salvo of the Biden administration’s declaration of war on American energy that fuels its job market and economy.
Stopping the completion of the southern border wall is one of many steps President Biden will take to increase illegal immigration, which will harm American jobs and wage growth. It is no coincidence that by the end of 2019, before the pandemic hit, lower immigration contributed to historically low unemployment rates across the board, especially among minority and blue collar workers. Concomitantly, hourly wages for Americans had the largest growth in decades.
The great labor union leaders of yesteryear such as John L. Lewis, Lane Kirkland, Leon Bates, and so many others must be turning in their graves. At least some of their successors are rightly critical.
Terry O’Sullivan, for instance, the General President of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), called Biden’s Keystone cancellation “insulting and disappointing to the thousands of hard-working LIUNA members who will lose good-paying, middle-class family-supporting jobs. By blocking this 100 percent union project and pandering to environmental extremists, a thousand union jobs will immediately vanish and 10,000 additional jobs will be forgone.”
Mr. Sullivan further pointed out that the pipeline would eventually have been operated by the T.C. Energy company using renewable energy, and that there are no renewable energy jobs that come even close to replacing the wages and benefits being lost by his union members. He hopes that the Biden administration “will not continue to allow environmental extremists to control our country’s energy agenda at the expense of union construction workers being forced to the unemployment lines.”
Such hope is a vain exercise. Environmental extremists indeed control President Joe Biden, as his early, cold-blooded actions reveal.
For example, Bill McKibben is thrilled, precisely because he’s one of those “environmental extremists” President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are so eager to please over the interests of working people. Mr. McKibben, you may remember, heads the Green group “350.org” and was portrayed as an elitist hypocrite in the Michael Moore film, Planet of the Humans, which exposed the fallacy of “renewable energy.”
In celebrating the Keystone cancellation, McKibben pointed out that it is the latest victory in “these infrastructure battles,” in which the Greens also have “added delay and cost to these projects.”
Then there is the nation’s largest business lobby, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which revealed its schizophrenia over Biden’s day-one assault on the American economy. The Chamber supports re-entry to the Paris agreement, but at least acknowledged that shutting the Keystone project “is a politically motivated decision that is not grounded in science [and] will harm consumers and put thousands of Americans in the building trades out of work.”
There also are serious foreign policy implications with the Keystone cancellation and other climate actions. Candidate Biden promised to take “immediate steps to renew [our] alliances [and] protect our economic future.” Yet he immediately poked the eye of Canada, one of our closest allies, while oil-producing nations like Russia and Iran stand to gain economically.
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who was never a friend of the Trump administration, criticized Biden’s action on Keystone. Count on our northern neighbor to respond by putting more of its fossil fuel abundance on westbound trains for overseas shipment to China and other eastern nations. A further irony is that transporting oil by rail and cargo ships is far less environmentally friendly than by pipeline.
President Biden is off to an ominous beginning with his executive orders on climate and energy. CFACT warned early and often this was coming. His actions reveal he cares more for the concerns of politically powerful environmental elites than for the livelihoods of American workers and consumers who will pay with their lost jobs and higher energy costs.
Fasten your seatbelts, America. There is plenty more to come, and it won’t be pretty.