The Natural Resources defence Council is against the proposed $1.7 billion Keystone pipeline that will transport oil from Canada’s tar sands to Texas.
Those who support the pipeline argue that it will help America become less dependent on Middle East oil and create American jobs.
Those against the pipeline, like NRDC, argue that it will destroy the environment and contribute to global warming. (One NASA scientist, James Hansen, has said that, if we start burning the tar sands, it will be “game over” for the planet.)
President Obama recently postponed a decision to approve or reject the pipeline. This caused Republicans and the oil industry to howl that the President’s delay has cost the country 20,000 jobs.
NRDC disputes this conclusion. We’ve printed their note below.
When one considers more than environmental concerns, the right answer on the Keystone project is not obvious. So, we’d be glad to hear from the oil industry and other proponents of the pipeline as well.
In the wake of President Obama’s decision to re-examine the Keystone XL pipeline permitting process, some critics of the delay, most notably the oil industry, have grossly inflated the supposed jobs that would be created by the project.
Let’s look at the record. Initially, TransCanada, the would-be pipeline builder, as well as other boosters, claimed the project would create a quarter-million jobs. Exposed as pure propaganda, they have reduced that number to 20,000. Even that’s fiction.
Here are the facts:
• In an interview on CNN, a TransCanada executive admitted on camera that permanent jobs would only number “in the hundreds, not the thousands”: http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201111110019
• The Washington Post reported that TransCanada said the project would likely yield only half the current talking point number of 20,000, mostly short-term temporary jobs. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/keystone-pipeline-debate-heats-up/2011/11/04/gIQA824rpM_story.html
• The Cornell University Global labour Institute analysis says that the project will produce fewer than 5,000 jobs at best—and could cost the nation jobs. http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/globallaborinstitute/research/upload/GLI_KeystoneXL_Reportpdf.pdf
• The Council on Foreign Relations’ Michael Levi, who is actually a proponent of the project, blogged that U.S. Chamber of Commerce numbers were based on a “dead wrong” study. http://blogs.cfr.org/levi/2011/10/27/keystone-oil-jobs/
• The State Department’s own analyses estimated 5-6,000 jobs. http://www.keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov/clientsite/keystonexl.nsf?Open
Preying on Americans desperate for work with puffed up job numbers is a cynical way to advance this dangerous project. We hope you will inform your readers of the facts.
Sadly, the jobs canard is not the only distortion being perpetrated by pipeline boosters.
They also are ascribing political self-preservation as the reason for the president’s courageous decision to hit the re-set button.
In fact, he had no choice, given the flawed evaluation done by the State Department. It was driven by conflicts of interest and bias in a rush to judgment.
For more information on the controversial project, you may be interested in these new blog posts from NRDC experts:
• NRDC President Frances Beinecke outlines the issues behind the President’s decision: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/fbeinecke/obama_administrations_call_for.html
• Anthony Swift looks at another overblown selling point for the pipeline: Energy Security: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/aswift/president_obamas_bold_decision.html
• Danielle Droitsch looks at potential impacts of this decision on future pipeline projects and the fights that are now queued up should Keystone XL fail: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ddroitsch/as_the_keystone_xl_pipeline_lo.html
• Susan Casey-Lefkowitz calls for a new environmental review of the project given the flawed nature of the initial State Department analysis: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/sclefkowitz/new_environmental_review_for_k.html
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