Axing Keystone XL pipeline cost thousands of jobs, billions of dollars, Energy Department says

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President Biden‘s cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline that would have carried 800,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to the Gulf Coast likely cost thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity, according to a new report from the Department of Energy.

The 18-page document, based on a literature review of past studies, concluded that the project would have produced 16,149 to 59,468 temporary jobs with an economic impact of $3.4 billion to $9.6 billion, largely confirming criticism from Republicans and the energy sector about the impact of axing its development.

DOE went on to say that the “high-end figure overstates jobs” because some would have been created abroad and the figure included jobs from a different, already built section of the original Keystone pipeline. It reiterated that, based on a 2014 State Department study, only about 50 of the jobs would have been permanent once the XL extension was operational and estimated that 3,900 direct jobs and 21,050 total jobs would have been created during construction.

The effect on consumer prices from the project’s cancellation was inconclusive, the report stated, “particularly in light of the changes that have occurred in Canadian and U.S. crude oil markets since the KXL pipeline was proposed.”

On his first day in office, Mr. Biden, as part of his climate change agenda, scrapped a permit that was essential to the multibillion-dollar operation. That eventually forced the plug to be pulled on the project by the private developer, TC Energy. Republicans and the energy industry erupted in outrage, accusing the president of sacrificing jobs and energy security.

“The Department of Energy finally admitted to the worst-kept secret about the Keystone pipeline: President Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline sacrificed thousands of American jobs,” Sen. James Risch, Idaho Republican, said in a statement. “The president must turn to American-made energy and jobs rather than dictators and despots to fix the energy crisis he created on his first day in office.”

The report is dated from last month but was revealed this week by Sen. Steve Daines, Montana Republican, and Mr. Risch. Its quiet release to certain lawmakers last month came 10 months after the congressionally mandated due date of Feb. 13, 2022, which was required by a provision from Mr. Daines and Mr. Risch included in a 2021 bipartisan infrastructure package stating that an economic report must be generated within 90 days of the legislation’s passage.

The XL extension was slated to deliver crude oil 875 miles from the Canadian border to Steele City, Nebraska, then use the existing Keystone pipeline heading south for the supply to meet its final destinations — refineries along the Gulf Coast.

“The Biden administration finally owned up to what we have known all along — killing the Keystone XL pipeline cost good-paying jobs, hurt Montana’s economy and was the first step in the Biden administration’s war on oil and gas production in the United States,” Mr. Daines said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the administration continues to pursue energy production anywhere but the United States.”

A public records request by The Washington Times from May 2022 for any internal department information surrounding the report was ultimately unfulfilled by the DOE, with representatives claiming months later they couldn’t locate it because they were unaware of where to look within the agency. It’s unclear when the department began to work on the report.

DOE declined to comment and did not answer questions about the report’s delay or why no public announcement came with its release. The report states it was sent to only 14 members of Congress last month, which did not include Mr. Daines or Mr. Risch.

Power the Future, a nonprofit that advocates for American energy workers, accused Mr. Biden of playing politics with the pipeline because it was first greenlit under former President Donald Trump.

“The Keystone XL pipeline was a common sense solution to our nation’s energy infrastructure, but because it was approved by President Trump, Joe Biden couldn’t help but destroy it for petty political reasons,” said Daniel Turner, Power the Future founder and executive director. “Joe Biden often talks about creating good union jobs, but it’s clear he will always put politics before people.”

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