Workers and businesses affected by the Keystone pipeline cancellation are calling out the Biden administration for hypocrisy regarding the method of transporting oil, the Washington Examiner reports.
Less than four months after President Joe Biden signed an executive order that effectively shut down the Keystone XL Pipeline, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said "the pipeline is the way to go" for delivering fuel to the East Coast.
Granholm's comment came after the Colonial Pipeline recently was shut down due to a ransomware attack. The Georgia-based pipeline provides about 45% of the fuel on the East Coast between Texas and New York.
The administration's contradictions regarding pipelines has not been lost on people in South Dakota, where citizens and the local economy benefited greatly from the Keystone project.
"How do they lay their heads down at night knowing they're supposed to be protecting these people and providing them with what they need to live?" Peter Bardeson, the business manager for the Laborers, Local 620 union in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, told the Washington Examiner.
"Ole Joe sold us out."
Laurie Cox, owner of Stroppel Hotel in Midland, South Dakota, agreed.
"The current administration is doing nothing but proving they want to destroy America," Cox said.
Cox’s business took a major hit when the Biden administration pulled key permits for the Keystone XL Pipeline, an $8 billion cross-border venture that would have connected two points of an existing pipeline, also called Keystone, that carries oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries.
South Dakotans such as Cox say pipelines not only are more cost-effective and safer than truck, rail, and boat, but also pumped money into local communities along its route and provide hundreds of jobs for skilled laborers.
Cox's hotel had been home to welders, carpenters, and union laborers tied to the pipeline project. They became unemployed on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.
The administration claimed climate change was a reason for canceling the project, and Biden said the "Keystone XL pipeline disserves the U.S. national interest."
After hearing Granholm’s remarks, Cox said, "It solidifies that this administration does not have a platform for anything except hate."
Cox and other South Dakotans told the Examiner that Granholm's comments proved shutting down the Keystone pipeline was purely political.
"[It] just shows incompetence and the ego of whoever is pulling the puppet strings," she said.
Bardeson said the decisions coming out of Washington are nothing more than a campaign to reverse any policy or executive order that the Trump administration put in place, regardless of whether it's a smart move.
Gaylord Lincoln, a South Dakota semiretired mechanic, said the anti-pipeline stance lacks logic.
"Until America becomes energy independent, we need the pipelines," he said. "They cost less and are more efficient."
Pipelines are the most commonly used method to transport oil, followed by rail. Trucks move oil and gas from production sites to pipelines, and across areas where there is no access to pipelines or rail.
The average truck holds about 200 barrels of oil or about one-third of what a railcar holds.
Pipelines are most cost-effective at about $5 per barrel, according to Strata.org. Railroads cost about $10-$15 per barrel, and transporting by truck costs about $20 per barrel.
Railroads' main advantage is speed – oil can be transported from the Bakken field region in North Dakota to the Gulf Coast in 5-7 days, compared to about 40 days via pipelines.
Pipelines, however, are more efficient and can move much more product than rail or road. They also are safer.
Rail is more than 4.5 times more likely to experience an incident in the transportation of oil, according to the Fraser Institute.
Although there have been numerous pipeline leaks, there has been less damage than that caused by railroad accidents.
"The Biden administration can't argue with a straight face that pipelines are worse for the environment," Lincoln said. "Nothing they say holds water."
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