It’s Wednesday! Happy hump day. As you’re all drinking your mid-morning coffee and contemplating how to answer your boss’s email, here’s some follow up on one of the major political struggles that our dear Kara profiled yesterday.
The conflict over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is getting ugly. Lobbyists for oil and gas companies are pushing for the pipeline as hard as they can, saying that it will create jobs, lower energy costs, and bring must-needed economic benefits to America.
Actually, what they’re really saying is “we’ll make a lot more profit if we have this pipeline!” True story. An article published in CNNMoney today details the facts about what the pipeline would mean economically, and it’s not pretty for supporters who argue that the project will have a positive impact. The highest estimate for jobs creation is coming from the U.S. State Department, which says the project could create up to 5,000 jobs – but only for two years. TransCanada, the company that would build the pipeline, has reported figures upwards of 100,000 jobs that have been widely circulated. But there’s two problems with their statement: first, most of those jobs wouldn’t be in the US; second, the vast majority would be temporary positions lasting less than two years. In America, TransCanada admits the project would create a few hundred permanent jobs – maximum.
Meanwhile, the impacts of the pipeline in the American midwest could be even more grim – economically speaking. Independent studies (i.e., an analysis of the project’s impacts from the people who won’t be making money off it) project that the pipeline will lead to higher fuel prices in the midwest while also negatively impacting agricultural interests. They project that in the long run, Keystone XL will actually lead to jobs lost in both agricultural and energy sectors. Translation: more people out of work in the midwest, and higher food prices stemming from economic stresses in America’s breadbasket.
When you pile this on top of the ugly picture that is tar sands oil extraction anyway and the fact that the pipeline would place one of America’s largest aquifers directly in the path of contamination, Keystone XL just doesn’t seem to be adding up to the pretty picture that it’s been sold as.