• Laid-off Keystone
XL worker says decision to cancel pipeline 'is going to hurt a lot of people'
Teny Sahakian I Fox News
Published on January 25, 2021
In his first day in office, President
Joe 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
Neal Crabtree, a welding foreman who began working on pipeline construction as an apprentice in
1997, was dismayed when he heard the news.
"This is not a time to be making political statements. We need to be finding ways to put more Americans back to work, not the other way around," he said in an interview with
Fox News.
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 At the time the cross-border permits for the pipeline were rescinded, he and his team were in Nebraska working on a pump station for Keystone XL.
In a Facebook post from the
Wednesday, Crabtree wrote he felt
"a sick feeling in my stomach and an aching in my heart," and admitted to breaking down and crying in his truck after laying off his team.
"Just like the rest of the country,
COVID hurt us bad. We had a lot of projects canceled," he told Fox
News. "We've got guys that haven't worked in months, and in some cases years, and to have a project of this magnitude canceled, it's going to hurt a lot of people, a lot of families, a lot of communities."
"We are very eager to see those workers continue to be employed in good-paying union jobs, even if they might be different ones," Buttigieg said.
"I don't consider this a job, I consider it a career," said Crabtree in response to the statement. "You spend a lifetime fine-tuning your skills and if you go start another job you're starting at the bottom. I doubt that these politicians would like it if someone told them to go start over and find a different job."
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