Pipeline workers on Monday described how they say they were shocked to learn the Trump administration would approve a $15-billion pipeline project that would bring 1.8 million barrels of oil a day from Canada’s tar sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The pipeline, which would carry crude from Canada to refiners on the Gulf Coast, was first proposed in January and was later approved by President Donald Trump, who said he would boost the country’s oil production.
But workers say the $15 billion project is “shocking” given the amount of tar sands oil that’s already been produced in the United States and the climate impacts.
“The pipeline will increase the amount and the volume of carbon dioxide emissions, and the amount in the atmosphere, and we’re talking about an area that’s roughly the size of the state of California,” said Tom Homan, a pipeline worker and pipeline project supporter who lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Homan said the project is a “game changer.”
“I’m just really excited that the government’s finally listening to our concerns,” Homan said.
The oil industry, which supports the project, has vowed to fight any moves by the Trump Administration to stop the project.
But the oil industry has also raised concerns about the impact on workers and local communities.
On Friday, Trump said that he’s “very confident” that the Keystone XL pipeline is safe and said the president will veto any bill that would block the pipeline.
The pipeline would transport crude from Alberta, Canada, to refines in Texas.
The United States imported more than $2 trillion worth of tar sand oil from Canada in 2017.
Keystone XL is the final piece of the pipeline that would carry the oil to refiner terminals along the Texas Gulf Coast to sell it to domestic consumers.
The project has faced opposition from environmentalists and tribes.
Ahead of Trump’s decision, the pipeline company TransCanada Corp. said in a statement that the Trump decision “is yet another step backwards for our country, one that will put our economy and environment at risk.”
The company also warned that any attempt by the White House to block the project could “destroy the economic viability” of Texas.
“We will not be intimidated by threats of economic sabotage and will not back down from our fight to save the Keystone pipeline,” TransCanada said.
In its statement, TransCanada called the decision a “political and economic stunt.”
The pipeline project is part of the Obama administration’s $1.8 trillion Energy Independence and Security Act.
It is also a critical part of a strategy to combat climate change.
In a statement, the Energy Department said the new pipeline would be a “keystone to our energy independence” and create up to 1 million jobs.
The Trump administration also announced it would delay the pipeline project for another two years and seek new approvals for another one.