HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In one of many executive orders issued on his first day in office, President Joe Biden revoked the permit for the Keystone Pipeline extension, drawing criticism from Texas Republicans.
The move, celebrated by environmentalists and clean energy advocates, means a halt to construction on the $8 billion project that would have carried 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Alberta, Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. It also reversed a Donald Trump executive order that gave it a green light four years ago and sends a message on how Biden sees the future of fossil fuels, experts said.
In response, Senator John Cornyn, R-TX, issued the following statement:
"The biggest losers from this decision are the energy workers who stood to benefit from the pipeline. There's no doubt our energy industry has already suffered during the pandemic, and President Biden's answer is to kick the industry further down the well. I hope this isn't a preview of what's to come from the Biden Administration, but rather that he'll work with energy-producing states like Texas to find common ground on an all-of-the-above policy."
On Twitter, Congressman Dan Crenshaw, R-TX 2nd District, wrote, "The 'working class party' is just fine with killing thousands of union jobs."
According to the Keystone XL website, the project would sustain about 11,000 jobs and generate $1.6 billion in gross wages, but it was also an environmental disaster, said critics.
Michelle Michot Foss, a Ph.D. fellow in energy, minerals, and materials at Rice University's Baker Institute said the extension would have benefitted the Houston region.
"This project is one of those great security blankets. We have that delivery of crude from Canada. It comes right into the refining complex here, which provides roughly 30 to 40% of U.S. fuel supply and would help to keep prices affordable as everybody engages in economic recovery," said Foss.
Canada is the biggest loser, according to the University of Houston's chief energy officer, Ramanan Krishnamoorti, Ph.D. Their oil gets stranded and the U.S. will have to continue to adapt.
"In the end, the country needs that energy. They will find ways to get to that energy, so there will be other sources that will continue to grow," Krishnamoorti said.