Blocking the Keystone XL pipeline was the right move by Pres. Joe Biden
In an astonishing first day act, President Joe Biden revoked the permit for the building of the Keystone XL pipeline. It was meant to transport 830,000 barrels of heavy crude oil from Alberta, Canada to the U.S. each day.
According to TC Energy Corp, the Keystone XL builder, more than 1,000 construction jobs will be lost. The reason why this decision should be applauded is because it was done to protect indigenous groups – whose lands were used to build the pipeline – and the environment.
This isn’t to say that creating jobs is unimportant; it’s very important for the success of a nation, but not at the expense of poor and marginalized groups.
Politicians are often called out for being cowardly and greedy, caring only about money more than humanity. Surprisingly, Biden, a career politician, risked a lucrative business deal with a key ally in order to defend the climate and build better jobs. World leaders must take note and start making brave, and costly, decisions that value humanitarian causes over money and wealth.
The last time a world leader ignored a global threat for the sake of economic interests was former President Donald Trump. He was recorded telling reporter Bob Woodward that he did suppress the news of a COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. so he wouldn’t scare the stock market.
Today, the U.S. has the highest rates of deaths and cases of COVID-19 in the world, and its economy is weakening while unemployment is rising. Thus, hiding the COVID-19 news did not result in any economic gains.
Revoking the pipeline permit was a great, albeit a bit hurtful, decision because it prioritizes poor people, activists and the environment over the rich.
The world is becoming more dangerous to live in today with new variants of COVID-19 breaking out and the earth becoming hotter. The Biden administration made the right choice to focus more on cutting carbon emissions and becoming more green.
Jennifer Morgan, the executive director of Greenpeace International, has said that the climate today is so volatile that it will “play a role in security policy.” She also said, “fossil fuels are like weapons of mass destruction — they need to be kept in the ground.” This should alarm all world leaders of the disastrous consequences of ignoring the wellbeing of the environment.
Some might worry that the cancellation of the pipeline permit will negatively affect relations between the U.S. and Canada. Even though Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is “disappointed” about the cancellation, in which Canada invested $1.5 billion.
Trudeau is well known for being very concerned about indigenous groups, the environment and human rights. In fact, he struggled with Trump, who imposed tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum in addition to insulting Trudeau. Biden is more aligned with Trudeau’s progressive agenda on climate change and human rights, so they will find new ways to create jobs that will not affect poor indigenous groups.
Although Biden’s decision was more environment-oriented, it shows that he cares about ordinary and disadvantaged Americans, especially the indigenous groups, who have been historically marginalized. This should inspire Americans to continue to push Biden to fulfill more ambitious and courageous humanitarian goals that may be politically costly.
The pandemic should’ve taught world leaders that countries cannot succeed if the wellbeing of its citizens and its environment are at risk. So, with that in mind, let’s hope for more brave world leaders and decisions.
Abdullah Dowaihy is a political science senior who can be reached at [email protected]