“Keep It In The Ground” activist groups across the country were out in force this week to applaud the news that three major oil and natural gas pipelines have been halted or outright cancelled despite the tremendous economic benefits the projects bring.
The tone-deaf response from these politically-motivated groups to working class men and women losing out on good-paying jobs echoes the infamous tweet from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) who said “you absolutely love to see it” in response to the price of oil falling and companies laying off workers.
As the American Petroleum Institute’s Mark Green explains, “it has become increasingly challenging to get projects off the drawing board because of almost endless legal maneuvering and government red tape. Both contribute to delay and uncertainty that undermine project investment and completion.”
On Sunday, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy announced they had cancelled the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline that would have carried natural gas from West Virginia to communities in Virginia and North Carolina because of political, legal, and regulatory challenges. The project would have created 17,000 jobs and generated $2.7 billion in economic activity.
Then on Monday, a federal district court judge ruled that the Dakota Access Pipeline, which carries oil from North Dakota to Illinois, must be shut down and emptied of oil pending an environmental review. The pipeline’s construction created up to 12,000 jobs, has operated safely since operations began in 2017, and provides millions of dollars in property taxes every year to support schools, hospitals, and other crucial public services.
That was followed later on Monday when the Supreme Court rejected the Trump Administration’s request to overrule a federal district judge who was blocking construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline that would carry oil from Canada to Nebraska. The pipeline has the potential to create thousands of jobs and pump $8 billion into the North American economy.
But what is bad news for workers and communities is apparently reason to celebrate for environmental activist groups.
The Sierra Club called the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline an “historic victory” and the National Resources Defense Council said it was “tremendous news.”
350.org founder Bill McKibben tweeted that it was “truly enormous” and thanked fellow activists who killed off jobs and economic development.
Truly enormous: after powerful organizing by tens of thousands of great activists, Duke Energy and Dominion Energy throw in the towel and cancel Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Such thanks to those who fought. https://t.co/WMuakWJM21
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) July 5, 2020
Cheering on every decision as a “great week,” Greenpeace said the shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline was a “HUGE victory” and former Vice President Al Gore hailed it as a “second big win” of the week, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said the week’s news was a “major victory” for anti-energy forces.
ICYMI: It’s been a great week for climate justice and Indigenous rights!
? Atlantic Coast Pipeline canceled forever
? Dakota Access Pipeline ordered to be shut down and emptied
? Keystone XL Pipeline remains blocked until 2021https://t.co/vYzVkXb8Fv
— Greenpeace (@Greenpeace) July 7, 2020
The Center for Biological Diversity said the halt of the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline “is an important win.” Harvard professor and climate activist Naomi Oreskes said it was all “much needed good news” while praising the difficulty of economic development in the United States.
Much needed good news: Grim Day for Pipelines Shows They’re Almost Impossible to Build – Bloomberg https://t.co/QNcmiVN69W
— NaomiOreskes (@NaomiOreskes) July 7, 2020
Activists celebrating jobs going away and how difficult it’s become to build infrastructure shows how far they are out of the mainstream and out of touch with working Americans.
The Laborer’s International Union of North America said that the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline means that “thousands of hardworking LIUNA members … now do not know where their next paycheck will come from,” and that the order halting the Dakota Access Pipeline despite safe construction methods undermines the skills of hardworking Americans:
“LIUNA’s strong, proud, and united members are disappointed in today’s ruling on the Dakota Access Pipeline. The ruling, which shuts down the pipeline, will weaken American energy security at a time when our nation’s economy is struggling.
“The decision second-guesses the rigorous permitting and approval process, which guided the Dakota Access Pipeline as well as that of thousands of crucial infrastructure projects across the country. The ruling also ignores the high standards and reputation for quality of the more than 8,000 skilled building trades men and women who built Dakota Access using the safest and most advanced construction methods.”
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