Why the Keystone XL Pipeline Will Be a Job Killer

Dirty energy can't hide under the false cover of jobs anymore. A new study from Cornell University's Global Labor Institute has found that the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport tar sands from Alberta 2,000 miles across the US to the Gulf, would actually destroy more jobs than it would create.

It's a pretty damning finding.

While I think the environmental impact of the extraction, transportation and burning of tar sands would far outweigh any notions of job creation, the jobs factor is still a talking point for the pipeline's proponents (i.e. big oil and the politicians they're paying off contributing to).

But with these new findings, even the the jobs point appears to be moot.

Here's just a bit of what they found in the report:

  • The industry's claim that KXL will create 119,000 total jobs (direct, indirect, and induced) is based on a flawed and poorly documented study commissioned by TransCanada (The Perryman Group study). Perryman wrongly includes over $1 billion in spending and over 10,000 person-years of employment for a section of the Keystone project in Kansas and Oklahoma that is not part of KXL and has already been built.
  • KXL will divert Tar Sands oil now supplying Midwest refineries, so it can be sold at higher prices to the Gulf Coast and export markets. As a result, consumers in the Midwest could be paying 10 to 20 cents more per gallon for gasoline and diesel fuel. These additional costs (estimated to total $2-4 billion) will suppress other spending and will therefore cost jobs.
  • The industry's US jobs claims are linked to a $7 billion KXL project budget. However, the budget for KXL that will have a bearing on US jobs figures is dramatically lower--only around $3 to $4 billion. A lower project budget means fewer jobs.
  • There is strong evidence to suggest that a large portion of the primary material input for KXL--steel pipe--will not even be produced in the United States. A substantial amount of pipe has already been manufactured in advance of pipeline permit issuance.
  • By helping to lock in US dependence on fossil fuels, Keystone XL will impede progress toward green and sustainable economic renewal and will have a chilling effect on green investments and green jobs creation. The green economy has already generated 2.7 million jobs in the US and could generate many more

The report breaks down why TransCanada's assertion that the project will create 20,000 high-wage manufacturing and construction jobs is "misleading and erroneous" and then also talks about the four ways in which the project could actually kill jobs. Here's a bit:

  • Higher fuel prices in 15 states;
  • Jobs lost through environmental damage;
  • The cost of oil spills;
  • and the economic costs related to air pollution and carbon emissions.

You can read the rest of the report here


AlterNet / By Tara Lohan

Posted at September 29, 2011, 8:17am

Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Election 2018
Today's Top Stories