AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said President Joe Biden was wrong to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline on day No. 1 of his presidency.'Well, I wish
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said President Joe Biden was wrong to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline on day No. 1 of his presidency.
‘Well, I wish he hadn’t done that on the first day because the Laborers’ International was right it did and will cost us jobs in the process,’ Trumka said on an interview of Axios on HBO that aired Sunday.
As part of his plan to combat climate change, Biden revoked the presidential permit needed to complete the pipeline on January 20 after President Donald Trump had revived the project during his first days in office four years before.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said it was wrong for President Joe Biden to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline project the first day and said in the future he should announce new jobs that will replace the canceled union jobs
President Joe Biden promised voters he would cancel the Keystone XL pipeline on day one and made good on that promise. He also pitched massive investments in green energy, which could put some current union jobs in danger
Heavy quipment is used to put in place a piece of the planned Keystone XL pipeline in Oyen, Alberta, Canada earlier this month. BIden canceled the pipeline project on inauguration day after President Donald Trump had restarted it
The pipeline would have brought oil sands crude from Alberta, Canada to the U.S. Gulf coast. Construction had started but the project was already held up by legal red tape, with the Supreme Court unwilling to intervene.
Axios’ Jonathan Swan had asked Trumka about a statement released by the Laborers’ International Union of North America following Biden’s decision to kill the Keystone XL project on inauguration day.
‘We support the president’s campaign to build back better. Killing good union jobs on day one with nothing to replace them is not building back better,’ LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan said at the time.
Trumka said he agreed.
‘I wish he had paired that more carefully with the thing that he did second by saying here’s where we’re creating jobs,’ the union leader said.
‘We can do mine reclamation, we can fix leaks and we can fix seeps and we can create hundreds of thousands of jobs in doing all of that stuff,’ Trumka added.
LIUNA speculated that 1,000 existing union jobs were killed with the demise of Keystone, along with 10,000 prospective construction jobs.
Trumka also said that he believed Biden had already learned his lesson, though told Swan he hadn’t spoken to the new president about it personally.
‘Because the next time the subject came up it was done the right way,’ Trumka said.
The AFL-CIO head said he wanted to see Biden make specific job announcements when speaking about union cuts, due to a move toward green energy.
Swan asked Trumka if he knew of any additional pipeline projects Biden might shut down.
‘I don’t know. I know if he does he’ll pair it with job creation that will be greater than the number of jobs lost,’ Trumka said.
The union leader, who heralds from Pennsylvania – a state Biden won over former President Donald Trump – talked about the importance of people being able to get jobs where they live now.
‘If you destroy 100 jobs in Greene County, Pennsylvania, where I grew up, and you create 100 jobs in California, it doesn’t do those 100 families much good,’ Trumka argued.
A former coal miner, Trumka recalled being told he would be retrained as a computer programmer as mining was being phased out.
‘And I said, “Where are the computer programmer jobs at?” “Uh, they’re in, uh, Oklahoma and they’re in Vegas and they’re here.” And I said, “So, in other words, what we’re going to be is unemployed miners and unemployed computer programmers as well,”‘ Trumka said.
The AFL-CIO head explained that was because ‘people aren’t going to pick up roots and leave their families.’
‘I think what doesn’t get understood quite enough in the country, particularly in D.C. politics, is that that culture is very, very important to the people who live there,’ Trumka said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was pressed on Trumka’s comments during Monday’s press briefing by Fox News Channel’s Peter Doocy, who asked where laid off Keystone XL workers can go to get their green jobs.
Psaki pushed back on Doocy’s line of questioning telling him he ‘didn’t include all of [Trumka’s] interview.’
‘Well what Mr. Trumka also indicated in the same interview was that President Biden has proposed a climate plan with transformative investments in infrastructure and laid out a plan that will not only create millions of good union jobs but also help tackle the climate crisis,’ Psaki said.