SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A Fouke, Arkansas man says one of President Joe Biden’s first acts as President has left him without a job.
“I was actually working in Nebraska last week building one of the pumping stations. Two hours after the new administration was sworn in, of course they signed an executive order canceling the permits for the pipeline, and uh, it wasn’t an hour after that I was laid off without a job” said Neal Crabtree of Fouke, Arkansas.
Crabtree has worked as an oil pipeline welder for the past 25 years. He says he began work on the Keystone XL Pipeline in 2020 after the project was in limbo for more than a decade.
Crabtree says he’s not surprised by the decision, it’s why he steered his son away from the oil and gas industry, instead of allowing him to follow in his footsteps.
“He’s learning a trade that I hope he doesn’t have to deal with what I’m having to deal with right now,” said Crabtree. “And that’s a sad thing to say because I’m proud of what I do. I wanted him to be proud of what I do.”
With the nation in the middle of a pandemic and the national unemployment rate at 6.7 percent as of December 2020, Crabtree says the timing of the president’s executive order couldn’t have been worse.
“We’ve got so many Americans out of work. I don’t see how you can fix the problem by adding to the unemployment ranks even more,” said Crabtree. “We need to get Americans back to work. Laying more people off doesn’t fix anything. You know I work with men and women, we don’t want stimulus checks. We don’t want government handouts. We don’t want extended unemployment. We want to work.”
He just returned home from Nebraska on Monday. He says he doesn’t know what he’s going to do next and is taking a few days to regroup with his family.