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Three years ago, Joe Biden fired me.
My coworkers and I didn’t even know the president had this power. We found out the hard way when he signed an executive order canceling the Keystone XL pipeline. For the 11,000 of us working on this project, it meant getting laid off. For me, it meant returning to my farm in Texas to raise my three boys without any more income.
I’ve heard people say a lot “construction jobs are always temporary,” and that’s true to a degree. In a healthy economy, good construction workers are lining up for their next job while still working full-time to finish their current one.
As a pipeline welder, I usually had years of guaranteed work ahead of me. President Joe Biden’s Keystone decision canceled all of that. No one was going to build a pipeline after the president made it clear where he stood.
But this isn’t just about me or my coworkers. This isn’t just about our own industry. Biden’s decision has affected every American. Prices on everything spiked: gas, groceries, electricity, you name it.
You don’t need an advanced economics degree to understand that when supply of energy is restricted, its prices go up. When energy is expensive, everything is expensive. And the first domino fell on the day we were fired.
Keystone is more than just a 3,000-mile-pipeline network stretching from Canada to the U.S. It is a symbol of a much bigger attack on our energy independence. According to the Biden logic, it’s wrong to build a pipeline with one of our strongest allies, but it’s fine to import oil and gas from hostile nations, like Venezuela.
No one explained why it’s preferable to fire American energy workers while allowing foreign countries to expand their energy workforce. Or why it combats climate change for us to be unemployed while Iran hires more oil and gas workers.
Some may say our firing wasn’t a surprise, and we should have been ready. After all, during the 2020 campaign, Biden made it clear he wanted to cancel the domestic energy industry. He even bragged about it. He told a young climate activist “look at my eyes. I guarantee you. I guarantee you. We’re going to end fossil fuel.”
Like all his other orders and regulations punishing fossil fuels, canceling Keystone was just a campaign promise. I’m not surprised, but I wish the consequences would have convinced him to change course.
Look at what has happened since. The increased cost of living to America’s working families, the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East made worse by America’s weakened energy industry, our emergency oil supplies sinking to dangerous lows.
It should make everyone in America nervous that Russia and Iran are stronger and richer now than they were when Biden took office, and all this is because of petty politics. If my job is a political pawn, then yours could be, too. If presidents are going to go after us for political reasons and ignore the damage to the national economy and our security, then we should all be worried.
This isn’t a pity party. Losing a job is something experienced by many people across industries. Many of us have found work in other sectors, and my 30 years of experience in this field have helped me to find jobs as an inspector on other sites.
But the damage is to the future. The younger generation has dropped out, and our talent pool has shrunk. We’re not training the next generation of experts.
America has weathered storms before, and we’ve come out on top, but I think we can all see that we’ve entered a new phase of politics where the president and his team wage a war on its citizens for political purposes. We’ll weather this one, but sadly come out poorer and weaker in the end.
Three years is a long time. No one can argue we’re better off now than we were. It may be too much to ask to go back to what worked, to stop the attacks on this vital industry and leave workers alone. My guess is, most Americans can agree this would be the best decision Biden could make if he really loves this nation that he is seeking to lead for another four years.