The Corner

Energy & Environment

The Biden Jobs Purge

President Joe Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C., January 25, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

No, no, the Biden administration does not represent some sort of return to Bolshevism (nothing like), but something about its willingness to insist on ‘short-term’ sacrifice in pursuit of a radiant green future unmoored to any kind of reality is faintly reminiscent of the ruthlessness of an earlier generation of millenarians — red rather than green — a century ago.

Fox News:

President Biden climate advisor Gina McCarthy said Wednesday that the administration is “not asking for sacrifice” with its executive order to shut down construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

According to the Keystone XL website, the project, initially proposed more than a decade ago, would have sustained about 11,000 U.S. jobs in 2021 – including 8,000 union jobs – and generated $1.6 billion in gross wages.

Not to worry though:

“The most exciting thing about this is we’re not asking for sacrifice here,” McCarthy said during a Wednesday interview on NBC’s “TODAY Show.” “The president fully understands that people are suffering now. So this [is] all about recovering from the COVID crisis. This [is] all about building good, clean jobs, jobs where you can get access to jobs to good pay and unions.”

Translation (after ignoring McCarthy’s effort to muddle the issue by bringing COVID-19 into the discussion): We are asking for sacrifice, but don’t worry, green jobs will come to the rescue, a promise that will doubtless comfort a fortysomething oil worker, whose skills may not quite be as transferable as all that.

Fox:

Gina Raimondo, Biden’s nominee for secretary of commerce, said during a Tuesday confirmation hearing before the Senate that the Biden administration will ensure union workers who lost jobs due to the blocking of the XL pipeline will get new jobs.

Quite how, in a free-market economy, she can “ensure” that such workers will get new jobs is beyond me. But perhaps a free market is not what we are talking about.

Somehow I suspect that the unions whose members’ jobs flow(ed) from the Keystone project don’t seem to be entirely convinced about the green-jobs bonanza that the Biden administration would like us to believe lies just around the corner:

KOMO News:

President Joe Biden won an estimated 57 percent of union households across America in last year’s election, but one of his earliest actions in the White House on Wednesday a flurry of criticism from leading labor groups: his executive order revoking federal permitting for the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline project.

“Deeply disappointed,” said the head of the North American Building Trades Unions, which endorsed Mr. Biden in October. “Will kill thousands of good-paying #UNION jobs!” tweeted the Laborers’ International Union of North America. “Sadly, the Biden Administration has now put thousands of union workers out of work,” lamented the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters.

Given Biden’s climate crusade, there will be many more job losses to come. The green new dole will be what it will be.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Any doubt that the Biden Administration plans to slowly regulate fossil fuels out of existence vanished this week. First came the Keystone XL pipeline kill, but perhaps more significant is the 60-day freeze on new leases on federal lands and bureaucratic permitting. The pause could soon become a long-term ban.

Federal lands account for about 22% of U.S. oil production, 12% of natural gas and 40% of coal. When the Obama Administration slowed oil and gas permitting on federal land, drilling and exploration shifted to private land. The Biden Administration may shut that down too.

Start with the 60-day suspension on new leases on federal land. Producers in older oil and gas fields won’t be significantly affected, and many have already scaled back investment in places like California and Louisiana while pouring more into shale. But shale fracking occurs in large part on federal land in western states, and it continually requires new leases and investment.

Federal land accounts for 51.9% of New Mexico’s oil production and 66.8% of its natural gas, as well as a sizable share of gas extraction in Colorado (41.6%), Utah (63.2%) and Wyoming (92.1%). A federal leasing ban would cost some 18,000 jobs in Colorado, 33,000 in Wyoming and 62,000 in New Mexico by 2022, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

States would also lose hundreds of millions of dollars of mineral royalties that are shared by the feds. Oil and gas revenue accounts for 20% of New Mexico’s budget. Downstream suppliers like fracking sand mines in Wisconsin and steel manufacturers in Pennsylvania would also be hit . . .

For more on the difficulties that are, specifically, likely heading New Mexico’s way, take a look at Paul Gessing’s article for Capital Matters last month.

Those splendid new green jobs are going to have to materialize very quickly, and, some states must hope, in the right places.

Count me skeptical.

A notorious phrase about omelets and broken eggs comes to mind.

And so does one famous reply: “Where’s the omelet?”

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