Marking Up the Alberta Government's $30,000 Keystone XL Ad

Sun, 2013-03-24 07:48Guest
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Marking Up the Alberta Government's $30,000 Keystone XL Ad

This is a guest post by Heather Libby.

If you're a regular reader of the Sunday New York Times, you might have noticed a half-page ad in the A section promoting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline last weekend. Paid for by the Alberta government with $30,000 of taxpayer funds, the text-heavy ad asserted several reasons why President Obama should approve the project.

Their primary argument? This is “the choice of reason”.

Putting aside the fact that their word selection suggests those who oppose the pipeline are illogical or unreasonable; the ad says “some still argue Keystone should be decided on emotion rather than science and fact about Canada's responsibly developed oil sands resource”.

We completely agree. Here are a few scientific facts it forgot to mention:

And the list goes on, full of reasonable concerns that the Alberta government would rather you not ponder.

Check out our copy of the ad below (click to embiggen) to see a few more suggested edits to Alberta's assertions. 

Previous Comments

Great work at countering the BS of Alison Wonderland. Now we just need to pass the hat to be able to pay for our own ad. Otherwise, the “Choice of Reason” is all people in the US will read from Canuckistan.

 
 
Dear Guest. This ad (as were all the prior exclamations by the Canadian and Alberta Government, US Republicans and the oil industry) are much more warped and misleading than you present here.
 
Stefan Baranski, the spokesperson for Alberta Premier, stated : 'It’s important for Alberta to get the facts on the table as widely as possible.'
 
So, OK. Let's get these facts on the table for your ad, Mr. Baranski :
 
Let's start with the first 'claim' in this ad, that the Keystone XL is a $7 billion stimulus  to the US economy. 
 
This is what an independent study by Cornell University study had to say about that number :
 
<i>”These figures essentially mean that TransCanada’s claim that KXL is a $7 billion stimulus to the US economy is misleading on three levels. First, $1.6 billion will be spent on the Canadian portion of the pipeline, drawing largely on Canadian material and labor inputs. Second, at least $1.8 billion of the $7 billion has already been spent, mostly on design, permitting, and material inputs. Third, in addition to the $1.8 billion already spent, another $1.3 billion of KXL costs may already be committed. these committed costs may 
be incurred regardless of whether the project is actually constructed.
Therefore, we calculate that the actual spending relevant to the US economy, and the 
figure from which US new job creation projections should be calculated, is around $3 to 
$4 billion, not $7 billion”</i>
 
 
And this was about the entire Keystone XL span. Half of that is now already under construction, so the remainder of the XL (which now needs presidential approval) is likely no more than $1.5 - $2 billion. Then read the Cornell report on how much of that will go to actual labor, and how much will be 'goods' imported from other countries (mostly India and Korea, for steel pipe construction).
 
Talking about 'labor' involved in the Keystone XL project, this ad reports 42,100 jobs during the construction phase. Now, this kind of falls at the low end of prior job claims made by various institutions :
 
Texas Gov. Rick Perry : 1 Million Keystone Pipeline Jobs
The American Petroleum Institute : 500,000 Keystone Pipeline Jobs
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce : 250,000 Keystone Pipeline Jobs
Congressional Republicans : 120,000 Keystone Pipeline Jobs
This NYT ad : 42,100 Keystone Pipeline Jobs.
The U.S. Department of State : 5,000 Keystone Pipeline Jobs
TransCanada's own assessment : The project will create no more than 2,500-4,650 temporary direct construction jobs for two years
 
How many jobs in the US would this create ?
 
A state-by-state breakdown indicates that KXL will create between 93 and 257 jobs for residents in Montana; 121-333 jobs in South Dakota; 90-248 jobs in Nebraska; 6-18 jobs in Kansas; 41-113 jobs in Oklahoma; and 156-470 jobs in Texas.
 
With the Southern section of the Keystone XL already under construction, this leaves only jobs for Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, which amount of a grand total of 304 to 838 temporary jobs for the Keystone XL project.
 
And only 35 jobs remain after construction is completed, after TransCanada's own assessment.
 
This matches well with TransCanada's own numbers for the first Keystone pipeline, which created some 250 temporary jobs for South Dakota, mostly low paid laborers :
http://plainsjustice.org/files/TCResponse_DiscRqst20_SDLabor.pdf 
 
So here we go from Rick Perry's 1 million jobs to reality and reason of a few hundred temporary laborers jobs, and a few dozen permanent ones.
 
Combined with the misleading numbers reported about GHG emissions, and the total omission of environmental impact of turning pristine Boreal forest into an open pit mine with toxic leaking tailing ponds the size of Manhattan, it would be hard to see how this ad contains any “reason” at all, let alone be a reason for our president to find out what on Earth about the Keystone XL could possibly be in the “national interest” of our nation.
 

They must be confusing real jobs with the number of PR Agents they've hired…

There are NO JOBS.  20 (as in just 20) sounds like the right number.  Those 20 people will be running pipe pigs and driving to sites pinpointed for leaks or potential leaks, then they will dig it up and fix it.

[x]

Environmental Resources Management (ERM Group), the consultancy selected by TransCanada to conduct the environmental review for Keystone XL's northern leg on behalf of the U.S. State Department, is no stranger to scandal.

Exhibit A: ERM once ...

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