Biden ending Keystone pipeline project was ‘totally political’: Laid-off pipeline worker

Biden ending Keystone pipeline project was 'totally political': Laid-off pipeline worker

The Biden administration’s cancelation of the Keystone XL Pipeline project was “totally political,” a laid-off worker said on Tuesday, expressing dismay after being unemployed due to the executive order. 

“Well, I mean, the president was able to, you know, put us out of work by signing a piece of paper, but I’m the one that had to let these people in and tell them I didn’t have a job anymore,” Neal Crabtree, a welding foreman who began working on pipeline construction as an apprentice in 1997, told “The Faulkner Focus.”

A member of Pipeliners Local Union 798, one of four unions whose members will be left without work due to the pipeline’s cancellation, the 46-year-old welder from Arkansas was among the first to be laid off following the order. At the time the cross-border permits for the pipeline were rescinded, he and his team were in Nebraska working on a pump station for Keystone XL.

Coming from a small town in Arkansas, there are not many jobs outside of the farming industry. 

“Unless you farm, there’s not a whole lot of opportunity. So I chose this career. We go all over the country and we depend on these projects to provide a living for our families,” he said.

Crabtree “does not know what to do” as he faces unemployment.


In his first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order to halt the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which was meant to transport Canadian crude oil to the U.S., citing the climate-change crisis as the reason.

The move swiftly eliminated the estimated 11,000 U.S. jobs – including 8,000 union jobs – the project would have sustained in 2021.

Crabtree rejected the notion that canceling the pipeline was meant to help the climate, and he blasted the Biden administration for canceling the project even though “rail car” oil carriers will come into the country.

“This oil is already coming into the country. This pipeline wasn’t going to be the start of it. It’s coming by rail cars every single day, hundreds of thousands of them,” Crabtree said.

Crabtree blasted the move as “totally political.”

“I always laugh when the government says they’re going to create thousands of jobs,” he said. “The government doesn’t create jobs. The private sector in this country creates the jobs. The government can, however, destroy jobs and kill jobs. I showed you that Thursday by killing my job, killing my career. That’s what the government is capable of.”

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