Bogus Job Numbers Used To Sell Keystone XL Pipeline

Read time: 3 mins

As thousands of protestors gather at The White House today to voice opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline plan, one of the major selling points from the pipeline proponents is revealed as flawed and perhaps completely bogus. According to The Washington Post, the prospect of job creation – the reason so many people in America support the pipeline – isn’t as rosy as TransCanada would have us believe. In fact, their numbers don’t add up at all.

TransCanada threw out a figure of 20,000 jobs (13,000 construction, 7,000 for suppliers) that would be created directly and indirectly through the pipeline construction process. This is the figure that politicians have used to sell the pipeline to their constituents. But as The Washington Post points out, TransCanada chief executive Russ Girling admits the 20,000 figure is far from honest:

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.

As for the 7,000 indirect supply chain jobs, the $1.9 billion already spent by TransCanada would reduce the number of jobs that would be created in the future.

A TransCanada statement Sept. 30 said the project would be “stimulating over 14,400 person years of employment” in Oklahoma alone. It cited a study by Ray Perryman, a Texas-based consultant to TransCanada, saying the pipeline would create “250,000 permanent jobs for U.S. workers.”

But Perryman was including a vast number of jobs far removed from the industry. Using that technique in a report on the impact of wind farms, Perryman counted jobs for dancers, choreographers and speech therapists.

So are the meager job numbers worth the environmental devastation? Again, the Post says “no”:

Meanwhile, the Cornell Global Labor Institute issued a study suggesting that any jobs stemming from the pipeline’s construction could be outweighed by environmental damage it caused, along with a possible rise in Midwest gasoline prices because a new pipeline would divert that region’s current oversupply of oil to the Gulf Coast.

Even if TransCanada’s original claim of creating 20,000 jobs were accurate, it wouldn’t be enough justification for approving the Keystone XL pipeline, which has drawn the Obama administration into an ethics scandal, enraged property owners along the proposed route, and garnered bipartisan opposition in places like Nebraska due to its multiple flaws.

Brad Johnson at ThinkProgress has even more debunking of the bogus jobs figures and who is repeating them despite evidence that they are false. 

President Obama must decide whether this pipeline is in America's best interest, and there are signs that he isn't convinced. His White House is due to receive an earful today as Tar Sands Action returns to the front gates where 1,252 were arrested in August. If you want to follow the action on Twitter, look for hashtags #Surround, #tarscandal, #nokxl and follow @tarsandsaction.

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Even using the most pesimistic job figures, 6000 is nothing to sneeze at, especially nowadays.

Compare this to the Solyndra boondoggle.  At most, they employed 1100 people – which turned out to be exactly the kind of “short-term” jobs you constantly complain about.  And in that case they were very short-term, indeed.

On top of that, those now unemployed 1100 people are filing a class-action suit against Solyndra – which, ineffect now is the US federal government, being the largest and lowest-priority creditor in the bankruptcy – which really means they are suing the American taxpayers.  Lovely.

On the other hand, the Keystone XL pipeline is entirely privately-funded.  Taxpayers won’t be left holding the bag, no matter what.  It will also generate huge revenue for the government, and Lord knows they need it now.  How else are they going to fund their next hundred boondoggles, and line the pockets of their cronies?

Well, since you obviously have a surplus of “wisdom”, David, why don’t you share it with us?

Or are you just making glib, snarky remarks?

I’m finally acquiring a smidgen of wisdom.

There are many on many analyses of the manner in which private industry, either knowningly or not, places a burden upon others not associated with, or benefiting from, the enterprise.  On some occasions and in some localities these othrwise externalities are recognized and the enterprise is actually required to modify its (otherwise socipathic) behavior by regulation or fees.

As best as I can deterrmine, everything to do with the extraction, transportation and refining of fossil fuels requires heavy regulation; oft these occur only after the event.  Examples include the piping of natgas in the USA.

Dave! One of those rare events that drag a decent sized comment out of you. Good to see.

As best as I can deterrmine, everything to do with the extraction, transportation and refining of fossil fuels requires heavy regulation; oft these occur only after the event.  Examples include the piping of natgas in the USA.



Short term gain, long term pain.  

David, never Dave.  That’s someone else around here.

[Usually I haven’t the time for a long comment.]

David, never Dave.  That’s someone else around here.”

Lol, I know mate, just stirring.

“[Usually I haven’t the time for a long comment.]”

Aren’t you retired?

I retired and so became busier than ever.

Other earlier retirees around here had remarked on that phenomena.  I suspect part of it is simply everything takes longer now.

So the issue is that someone is painting a rosy picture about total jobs involved in a long international pipeline? Well they are probably guilty of that. Maybe they are counting all the extra police hours that are necessary to haul away the crazy greens chaining themselves to equipment etc.

Whatever damages the environment seems to be a hot nerve for everybody.  However, there are a lot of passive people who believes the number these dishonest companies give them..Good thing my plastic surgeon Beverly Hills, isn’t!

Even if they hire 20 000 or even 250 000 workers on a course of 2 years, it is not enough to justify the damage.