Indiana governor Mitch Daniels took the Obama administration to task for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline is his rebuttal to the President’s State of the Union address citing the number of jobs the construction of said pipeline would create. The OC Register, in an editorial on January 20, also criticize the President for “not being interested in shovel ready jobs the pipeline would create.”
The Register’s editorial makes the extraordinary claim: “ The president’s decision is contrary to consumer needs, ultimately contributing to higher energy prices, and misses an opportunity to reduce reliance on oil from unfriendly nations.”
Now the Obama administration hasn’t rejected the idea of the pipeline, but wants a new route that takes the pipeline away from the large aquifier that much of the Midwest relies upon. Imagine the catastrophe that could happen to the nation’s breadbasket is the water supply was polluted by a leak.
But the number of jobs the pipeline construction would add are grossly overinflated. The Wall Street Journal eported the pipeline would add “13,000 union jobs.” The US Chamber of Commerce said the pipeline would “more than 250,000 permanent jobs.” “The most outrageous claim was from American Petroleum Institute VP Marty Durbin who said the Pipeline would create 465,000 jobs by 2035.”
All of the jobs are based on a report by the Perryman Group, which was paid for by TransCanada, effectively would be the pipeline’s owner. The forecast for jobs in the numbers reported was debunked by Council on Foreign Relations fellow Michael Levi and environmental economist Andrew Leach. Both men are neutral on the pipeline.
From this story in the Chicago Tribune:
State of play: Keystone XL received Canadian approval in March 2010, but the U.S. State Department has yet to rule following a lengthened environmental process that has included draft and final impact statements, and public meetings. The department had said publicly it aimed to make its decision before year end, but the tone shifted in early November.
The State Department in November said it would pursue a new route to avoid a major underground water source in Nebraska – which had become a flashpoint of controversy – delaying the decision past the 2012 U.S. presidential election and into 2013.
Just days after the delay, TransCanada struck a deal with Nebraska lawmakers to examine a new route away from the Sandhills region in the state and the Ogallala aquifer. As much as 27 percent of U.S. irrigated land overlies the water source, which yields nearly a third of U.S. groundwater used for irrigation, according the U.S. Geological Survey. It also provides drinking water for 82 percent of residents within the aquifer boundary.
From the Register’s story, the climnate change deniers are at it again: “Environmentalists allege the pipeline to transport crude extracted from Canadian oil sands would contribute to climate change, and could leak. Given current technology, leaks are unlikely, but certainly manageable if they occur, posing little ecological threat. Climate change is the all-encompassing canard invoked to deny nearly any industrial activity on a presumption of dire atmospheric consequences, which are far from proven.
“The pipeline was proven to be environmentally safe,” says Karen Kerrigan, president of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. While environmental harm is debatable, the White House’s rejection is certain to mean delay of thousands of new jobs. “The project was set to create 20,000 immediate jobs and 118,000 spinoff jobs in businesses of all sizes,” Ms. Kerrigan said.
And I’m sure people living in Japan were all told that nuclear reactor was perfectly safe too.
According to the Global Labor Institute at Cornell University, which conducted the only independent study on the jobs projected to be created by the Pipeline, only 500 to 1,400 temporary construction jobs would be created by approving the Pipeline’s path as it stood before the plan was rejected by the Obama administration.
Worse, TransCanada counted people who already work for the company as “new” jobs in pipeline construction and would be using steel purchased from India. Imagine all of those orders going to American steel factories? How many new jobs would that fcreate not to mention the trickle down effect in the supply chain.
There’s still telling quote from the Cornell report:
“The operating costs for KXL are very minimal,” the Cornell Global Labor Institute report explains, “and based on the figures provided by TransCanada for the Canadian section of the pipeline, the new permanent US pipeline jobs in the US number as few as 50.” So the Keystone XL pipeline construction would have about the same economic impact of a Buffalo Wild Wings opening in Santa Ana.
My big concern about Keystone — the Koch Brothers connection.
According to The Hill, California congressman Henry Waxman wants some answers. From the story:
Waxman, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called Wednesday for a minority hearing on Keystone, with testimony from Koch Industry officials.
In a letter requesting the hearing sent Wednesday to committee Republicans, Waxman pointed to documents filed with the Canadian government by Flint Hills Resources Canada, a Koch subsidiary, that say the company has a “direct and substantial interest” in developer TransCanda Corp.’s pipeline application.
“We are seeking testimony from Koch to clarify its interests in the pipeline,” Waxman, who first raised questions about a possible Keystone-Koch connection last year, said in the letter.
Philip Ellender, president of government and public affairs at Koch Companies Public Sector, strongly denied that the company stands to benefit from approval of the pipeline.
“As we have previously stated, Koch Industries has no financial stake in the Keystone pipeline and we are not party to its design or construction,” Ellender said in a statement.
“We are not a proposed shipper or customer of oil delivered by this pipeline. We have taken no position on the legislative proposal at issue before Congress and we are not cited in any way in that legislation.”
Republicans blasted Waxman Wednesday for linking Keystone to the Koch brothers.
“This makes no sense to me,” said Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), who hails from the district where Koch Industries is based. “We’re supposed to do good policy, we’re not supposed to be deciding whether a particular company benefits or not.”
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) became visibly upset when Waxman began discussing the Koch brothers.
Though he said Democrats have a right to a minority hearing under House rules, he said the committee would not support subpoenaing representatives from Koch Industries if they decide not to participate in the hearing.
“We’re not going to be subpoenaing the Koch brothers … because the Koch brothers have nothing to do with this project,” he said.