One claim about the Keystone XL oil pipeline project touted by supporters is that it will create jobs. Not so fast, Cornell University published a report saying it will not create nearly as many as said by the oil industry.
Job creation claims for the pipeline have been made by the TransCanada Corporation and the American Petroleum Institute. Cornell’s report said that the company claimed 20,000 direct construction and manufacturing jobs would be created, and that the company’s claim is false. Their finding was only 2,500 to 4,650 temporary direct construction jobs would be created, and temporary in this case means up to two years. The pipeline, however, is intended to be operating for many, many years longer than the period when some jobs would be created, meaning the project is clearly designed to enrich the corporation; not to provide jobs to American workers. Large industries and some corporations actually have the gall to try and manipulate public policy in their favor, by claiming their actions are sometimes charitable in the sense of job creation, as if their main motivation is not making money for themselves, but helping unemployed workers.
Another point the Cornell report makes is the steel used in constructing the pipeline is likely to not even be made in the United States. The overall impact of the Keystone oil pipeline has been exaggerated to the point it has been said it will reduce the national percentage of unemployed workers in America, which has been shown to be false. The number of jobs created will be tiny compared to the number of unemployed people and will not cause any decrease in the national unemployment rate.
One aspect of the pipeline the TransCanada Corporation and the American Petroleum Institute don’t want to emphasize is the fact that oil spills and explosions in America caused one billion dollars worth of damage, just in the year 2010. Also, 22 oil workers lost their lives and more were injured in the same period. If built, the pipeline will extend across the following states: Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Who knows exactly how much damage oil spills from the proposed pipeline could cause to local ecosystems.
Disingenuous claims by the oil industry can’t cover up the fact the green economy is growing and has a better long-term potential for creating jobs. For example, a one-year extension of a federal solar grant program could create 37,000 jobs.
The number of Americans working in the solar industry has doubled since 2009, to 100,000 today. At the state level, in Hawaii the number of solar panel installers was expected to triple from 2009 to 2013.
Image Credit: Beeblebrox