Pipe Dreams... Pipeline Jobs Don't Add Up

TransCanada has made several claims about the number of jobs created from construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Originally it was 4,000 jobs, then TransCanada attempted to boost this projection by getting creative in terms of job creation claiming the pipeline would produce 118,000 spin-off jobs. Now TransCanada states 20,000 jobs would be produced.
These beefed-up figures are mostly taken from a report by the Perryman Group, a firm hired by TransCanada. This prompted a study from Cornell University, which analyzed the credibility of Perryman’s numbers and offers projections of its own. The report entitled Pipe Dreams? Jobs Gained, Jobs Lost by the Construction of Keystone, concludes that the pipeline might actually destroy more jobs than it creates.

According to Cornell’s report, construction of the pipeline would actually drive U.S. oil prices upward and divert oil away from U.S. consumers. The pipeline gives tar-sand oil a direct route to the Gulf Coast, and foreign stakeholders.  Without the pipeline, much of this exported oil would reach landlocked refineries in Illinois and Missouri, to be consumed within U.S. borders.  Because of this, Midwest gas prices could jump an extra 10 to 20 cents per gallon.

While the pipeline is designed to be a permanent fixture in the U.S., most of the jobs created will be temporary. When the pipeline is finished and the jobs have all gone, the pipeline is what will remain. And if TransCanada’s job estimates cannot be trusted, then there are certainly grounds for concern about their credibility on the environmental front.

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