It is the hope of Republicans and many others that the U.S. State Department will approve the Keystone pipeline project. As reported by CNN Money, it’s a 1,700-mile long pipeline that would transport crude oil from Canada’s oil sands region in Alberta to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Republicans say that it would add jobs nationwide and want to tack it onto the extension of payroll-tax breaks and unemployment benefits. Others say that the pipeline project would actually cost jobs in the long run.
The company that wants to build the pipeline, TransCanada, says that the project would create 20,000 “direct” jobs which includes constructions jobs and pump house and pipe creation jobs. On top of those jobs, they say that 120,000 “indirect” jobs such as restaurant workers and hotel employees would be added to support the construction and its workers. However sweet those numbers may look, the U.S. State Department projected a very different number of jobs to be created from the project. According to their estimates, only 5,000 direct jobs would be created by the pipeline project over a two-year period. Furthermore, the number of permanent jobs created by the project are projected to be only in the hundreds- even by TransCanada’s estimates.
No matter how many jobs it may actually create, there are many that believe the pipeline project could actually hurt jobs in the long-run. According to a study conducted by Cornell University, the higher fuel prices in the Midwest as a result of the pipeline would decrease consumer spending and, in turn, job creation. Though it is an indirect effect of the pipeline, higher gas prices are not desired in the Midwest, or anywhere in the country for that matter. But the negative aspects of the project are not just indirect. The article states that jobs may be lost due to crop failures resulting from the pipeline or other events associated with higher pollution levels the oil sands would bring. On top of that, with more oil circulating throughout the country the prevalence of green jobs would likely decrease.
As recent as this past November the pipeline project was met with much protest when “thousands of protesters held hands and encircled the White House grounds, demanding President Barack Obama” reject the pipeline project. The U.S. State Department is still reviewing the project and said they would come to a decision after the 2012 election. Currently, Obama maintains that he will not pass a payroll-extension if it is tied to the Keystone pipeline approval, which is what Republicans are aiming for.
Whether the pipeline project will create 20,000 jobs or 5,000 is unclear, but without the approval of the U.S. State Department, the project will not be creating anything.