‘It’s going to hurt a lot of people, a lot of families, a lot of communities’
The cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline was one of President Joe Biden’s first actions in the White House. TC Energy Corporation, the Canadian company behind the Keystone XL pipeline project, said they would cut more than 11,000 jobs.
One of the Americans who lost their job due to President Biden’s action is Neal Crabtree, a welding foreman who began working on pipeline construction as an apprentice in 1997. Crabtree, a member of Pipeliners Local Union 798, poured out his heart on how he reacted to finding out about the layoffs and how the cancellation of the pipeline will directly impact him.
“I build pipelines, I’m used to layoffs. We start projects knowing that once it’s complete, we’re getting laid off,” Crabtree wrote in a Facebook post that has been shared 4,000 times. “We depend on these temporary projects though to make a career.”
“What happened today was different,” said Crabtree, who was working on a pump station for the Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska. “I got laid off for political reasons and stupidity and the future doesn’t look so bright.”
“I’ve got a sickening feeling in my stomach tonight and an aching feeling in my heart that I’ve never felt,” the 46-year-old welder from Arkansas revealed.
“At the end of every job, I always shake the hands of the people I hire and the people that are sent from our Unions out of work list before they’re laid off,” he explained. “We laugh and smile and are proud of a job well done.”
“Today it wasn’t like that, I laid guys off because the President doesn’t want them to work,” Crabtree divulged. “I went to my truck and literally cried.”
Following the viral and heartwrenching Facebook post, the now unemployed Crabtree told his story during an appearance on Fox News.
“It’s been a hot political fight, but we got started on it this year,” he said of the pipeline. “As soon as the new administration came in on day one, they decided they wanted to put 11,000 people out of work.”
“Well, I mean, the president was able to, you know, put us out of work by signing a piece of paper, but I’m the one that had to let these people in and tell them I didn’t have a job anymore,” Crabtree said during an interview on “The Faulkner Focus.” “I’m the one who had to look these people in the eye and tell them they didn’t have a job anymore, so if I got a little emotional, I think that’s only human.”
“We go all over the country and we depend on these projects to provide a living for our families,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do right now. It’s tough.”
Last week, the Biden administration’s Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg told pipeline workers to find new jobs.
“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.
Crabtree responded to politicians telling him to find a new job, “I don’t consider this a job, I consider it a career.”
“You spend a lifetime fine-tuning your skills and if you go start another job you’re starting at the bottom,” he articulated. “I doubt that these politicians would like it if someone told them to go start over and find a different job.”
“Just like the rest of the country, COVID hurt us bad. We had a lot of projects canceled,” Crabtree 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.”
Crabtree believes that President Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline was based on politics, and not climate change.
“For the president to sit up there and tell the American public that he canceled this project because of climate reasons, it simply isn’t true,” Crabtree pointed out. “This oil is already coming into this country.”
“This pipeline wasn’t going to be the start of it,” Crabtree noted. “It’s coming by rail cars every single day. Hundreds, thousands of them.”
“A pipeline can do this safer. Common sense tells you that,” he continued. “Common sense said we don’t need to put American workers out of a job right now.”
“Common sense says this pipeline needs to be built,” Crabtree said, then criticized the Biden administration, “Common sense seems to be lacking in the early days of this administration.”
Crabtree seemingly made a veiled condemnation of President Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who has overseas business dealings with CEFC China Energy and Ukrainian gas company Burisma, which he was a board member of.
“It bothers me when they’re overseas setting up family members to profit off the same thing they want to stop here in America. That”s definitely aggravating,” he stated.
Crabtree ended the interview by saying, “I’m in the process of trying to live the American dream right now, I’m building a house – the bank may own it before I ever get a chance to live in it. So I’m definitely worried.”
“I’m not giving up,” Crabtree said. “We’re going to keep fighting. I’m not giving up.”