I am deeply disappointed in Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., relaying his recent message to President Joe Biden, asking him to reconsider his rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Contrary to Manchin’s assertions, that pipeline would not assure America’s energy independence, it merely replaces one source of foreign oil with another, even dirtier one. Canadian oil sands release some of the highest amounts of greenhouse gases per unit of energy of any oil source in the world. Biden was correct when he concluded that Keystone is inconsistent with America’s climate objectives, and further investment in Keystone only increases our commitment to fossil fuels and the greenhouse gases they emit.
Manchin’s claimed concern for jobs is also incorrect. The number of jobs created by investments in energy efficiency and renewables far exceeds the number created by investing those dollars in fossil fuels. West Virginia trails every surrounding state in the number of jobs in renewables, and efforts to save a few fossil-fuel jobs ends up hurting the larger job-creation opportunities in clean energy.
I urge Manchin to focus on Biden’s Just Transition efforts. Certainly, our economy is closely tied to fossil fuels, and it will be critical, as America inevitably moves toward a clean-energy economy, that we invest in the workers and communities that have carried the load up to now.
Continued focus on fossil-fuel investments will inevitably abandon the workers and their communities, just as the ongoing bankruptcies are already doing. It is time to change.
West Virginia Sierra Club