The figure stated is an estimate, and the claim lacks context about the longevity of Keystone jobs.
The Keystone XL pipeline project was halted during the Obama administration in 2015 and was resumed under former U.S. President Donald Trump's administration. Trump granted the presidential permit for the pipeline project in 2017, and construction began in March 2020.
On January 20, 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order revoking the Keystone XL pipeline permit.
After the announcement, oil industry groups supporting the project denounced Biden's move. Andy Black, president and CEO of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines, said, "Killing 10,000 jobs and taking $2.2 billion in payroll out of workers' pockets is not what Americans need or want right now." Several social media posts also claimed that the move would lead to unemployment for many, with numbers ranging between 10,000- 83,000.
TC Energy, the company that owns the project, issued a statement saying, "advancement of the project will be suspended," and "the action would directly lead to the layoff of thousands of union workers." In an email to AFP, TC Energy confirmed that 1000 unionized jobs would be lost in Canada and the U.S. The 11,000 and $2 billion figures cited are estimates published by the company, but most of the jobs would be temporary. TC Energy forecasted an estimate of over 11,000 people to be hired in 2021, with most of the jobs being temporary, Politifact noted.
In October, TC Energy awarded contracts to six American union contractors to build the Keystone XL pipeline in three states in 2021. Those contractors were "responsible for hiring 7,000 union workers." The press release by TC Energy further said, "When combined with additional 2021 contracts to be announced later, the total number of American union workers constructing Keystone XL in 2021 will exceed 8,000 and $900 million in gross wages," the release said. "In total, Keystone XL is expected to employ more than 11,000 Americans in 2021, creating more than $1.6 billion in gross wages."
The State Department report accessed by Polifact shows that 10,400 estimated positions would be required for seasonal construction work lasting four to eight months, meaning they were temporary. But it's important to note that the State Department defines "job" as "one position that is filled for 1 year," which would equate to approximately 3,900 jobs over two years. The report also said only 50 employees would be required to maintain the Keystone XL pipeline once it's finished, of which 35 of them would be permanent jobs.
Biden's order would cost thousands of people their job, with over 1,000 directly being affected immediately. Posts that are stating figures like 10,000, 11,000, or 51,200 jobs being lost are misleading. These are estimates for the future, with many being temporary for two years.
Since the company said it expected to employ more than 11,000 Americans in 2021 and generate more than $1.6 in gross wages, and both TC Energy and the State Department have said the majority of those jobs would be temporary, it is misleading to imply that Biden's move would cost over 51,200 jobs.