Proponents of the Keystone XL–an oil pipeline that would cut a swath across dozens of rivers, streams, and America’s largest source of fresh water–claim that the number of domestic jobs created by the project offset its immense environmental risks.
But in a recent report by the Washington Post, the company behind the Keystone XL admitted that it intentionally inflated estimates of the number of American jobs the pipeline would create.
The 20,000 jobs involved in pipeline construction? A fabrication supported by misleading mathematics. The 250,000 indirect jobs? A number based on one oil-industry funded study that counted jobs for “dancers, choreographers and speech therapists,” according to the Post.
TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said Friday that the 13,000 figure was “one person, one year,” meaning that if the construction jobs lasted two years, the number of people employed in each of the two years would be 6,500. That brings the company’s number closer to the State Department’s; State says the project would create 5,000 to 6,000 construction jobs, a figure that was calculated by its contractor Cardno Entrix.
“Thank heavens some reporter actually questioned this jobs number, instead of just repeating it,” said Bill McKibben, who is leading a major protest against Keystone XL this Sunday at the White House. “The only study not paid for by the pipeline company makes clear that there are no net jobs from this pipeline because it will kill as many as it will create.”
President Obama told a Nebraska TV station Tuesday that he would make the final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline by balancing the potential job benefits against health and environmental concerns. “I think folks in Nebraska, like all across the country, aren’t going to say to themselves, ‘we’ll take a few thousand jobs’ if it means that our kids are potentially drinking water that would damage their health or if … rich land that is so important to agriculture in Nebraska ends up being adversely affected,” he said.
Well Mr. President, over 3,000 people will be on your lawn tomorrow, demanding that you keep your word. The Keystone XL pipeline jeopardizes American land and water, and will destroy jobs–not create them. Time to make good on your promise.
Image Credit: Flickr – fibonacciblue