Oil industry makes economic pitch for Keystone XL pipeline to Gulf

The oil industry is hoping support from organized labor — and the promise of 20,000 construction jobs — will help convince the Obama administration to sign off on a pipeline that would transport crude oil harvested in Alberta, Canada to Gulf Coast refineries.

Industry leaders teamed up with organized labor today to tout the projected economic benefits of the project, which is fiercely opposed by environmental advocates.

“With the U.S. economy still struggling, nothing is more important than jobs, and construction of the pipeline would mean massive numbers of them,” said American Petroleum Institute Refining Issues Manager Cindy Schild in a conference call with reporters.

One analysis projects that 20,000 workers would be hired to construct TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, if it wins the administration’s approval later this year.

James Kimball, chief economist for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said the project would be a boon for construction workers.

“This project means jobs — and jobs for our members,” Kimball told reporters. “We think that big construction projects (and) infrastructure projects such as this project and others are a fast and good way to put a large number of people to work quickly. This project will put approximately 1,300 to 1,500 new teamsters to work on the pipeline.”

TransCanada has signed agreements with four international unions to use their workforce for the construction of the 1,600-mile pipeline.

Organized labor’s support for the project was credited with boosting congressional support for legislation that would force the Obama administration to make its final decision on the pipeline by Nov. 1. That bill passed the House last month with bipartisan support, but it is not likely to advance in the Senate.

The State Department is expected to release a final environmental analysis of the proposed pipeline by the end of the month, a move that will kick off a 90-day period when federal agencies evaluate whether the project is in the “national interest.”

Environmentalists are set to mount protests at the White House this weekend, in advance of the decision. They also are expected to make their arguments in public meetings that will take place in Port Arthur, Texas and at least six other states in September.

API’s Schild said union representatives who support Keystone XL may attend the public meetings too — providing a foil to the environmental criticism.

As organized labor has gotten more involved, the issue pits two traditional Democratic allies — unions and environmentalists — against each other.

Environmentalists say the State Department’s review of the project has been rushed and overly simplistic — without enough attention to what damage could be caused by spills and how the project may hurt the American burying beetle, the endangered whooping crane and other animals in the pipeline’s path.

Environmentalists also worry the pipeline would expand the marketplace for diluted bitumen and synthetic crudes produced from Alberta’s oil sands with greenhouse gas emissions that can be 40 percent more than those of conventional oil. Although oil companies are increasingly using less-invasive in situ techniques to extract the tar-like hydrocarbon bitumen from deeply buried oil sands, it has traditionally been removed through open pit mining that conservationists say has ravaged Alberta’s boreal forest.

12 Comments

  1. Mike H.

    Do these pipeline construction employment number add up in light of other recent pipeline projects, like REX?

    #1
  2. CB

    When I read articles like this, it is almost amusing. The author presents his case about some future project which would promote business and create jobs and wonders why the obama administration isn’t jumping on the project.

    Obama is here to tear down America. The only problem he ran into was screwing the economy up so bad it will make it almost impossible for him to be lawfully re-elected. Ole blue gums isn’t here to help us, he’s here to destroy what we have held so dear for the last 230 some years. He is a communist/fasist/marxist…whatever term you want to label him with is fine by me, just as long as everyone understands the guy isn’t here to help America, he is here to destroy America.

    #2
  3. Shrimper

    CB, you are right on.
    The sooner we rid ourselves of this anti-American punk-thug, the better.
    Hopefully while we’re at it, we can continue to expose the hoax and fraud of AGW (man-made global warming) which has it’s tenticles into every aspect of this economy and our very lives, and which feeds to forces opposing this pipeline project.
    WE ahd ALL better wake to this danger, before it’s too late.

    #3
  4. George D. Delaney

    Having experienced similar objections from environmentalists during development and consturction of the Trans Alaska Pipeline, has its operating history borne out the legitimacy of such cocerns, particularly with regard to wildlife, oil spills, etc.(excluding the Exxon Valdes shipwreck which might have been avoided if the TAPS had gone all the way to the lower states)?

    #4
  5. Mark

    What effect if any, will this have on the price of crude.

    #5
  6. Mark II

    What effect if any, will this have on the price of crude?

    #6
  7. rad rat

    I think we should be working on CANADIAN jobs. Build the pipeline East/West, not to the US. Take care of Canada first.
    I have worked in the oilsands, and there are more American workers than Canadian. Because they will work for less money. Guess what happens when “we” try to go to the states to work. (Besides the boarder guard wanting to shoot you for taking “american” jobs).

    #7
  8. America needs jobs so start the darn project.

    #8
  9. giff

    “American burying beetle” It’s nuts!

    I step on bugs everyday. I pay to have a man come and kill spiders at my house because my wife hates them.

    Come on.. why do we allow these crazy people set policy.

    #9
  10. Dom

    this article fails to present another inherent pitfall of introducing the pipeline; the discussion of state soverignty. When built, the pipeline will span across the Nebraskan Ogallala aquaifier. The state of Nebraska relies heavily on this aquaifier for approximately 40% of the state’s drinking water and 80% of the water used for irrigation for agriculture, a major commodity of Nebraska. If Keystone XL shares the disfunctionality, leaks and spills, of its predecessors, it is guaranteed to present damaging effects to the welfare of Nebraska both environmentally and economically. But do the ends justify the means? Temporarily in the form of a few thousand jobs that will not last long, sure, but in the long term, no. This foreign oil company, if allowed to create the pipeline, will violate Nebraska’s state soverignty. Support for this pipeline is anti-American, flat out. If you support this pipeline and believe in the constitution, you need help.

    #10
  11. RepublicansLIEandareSTUPID

    CB/Shrimper, you are obviously very ignorant. Bush has done more damage to this country than all other presidents combined, and Obama inherited his legacy of retardation, lax regulatory enforcement which caused the economy to collapse, along with a monetary policy that kept interest rates way too low for too long. You probably have no idea how that works together, so just go back to listening to FauxTV (that’s a joke I made about FOXTV, you’ll have to look it up if you can figure out how to do that). This oil will be more costly to refine, and will not lower pump prices, but you already knew that since you’re so scientifically educated. Yeah, global warming and education = witchcraft.

    #11
  12. ec342

    RepublicansLIEandareSTUPID, you are obviously very, very, blind. I could care less what Bush did or didn’t do that we a long time ago. YOu should get over it and see the situation as it is now. America has lost power, standing, credibility, credit, jobs, financial stability, and HOPE under the current administration. By every and all measures, Obama is a failed persident. Continuing to blame Bush is very, very, ignorant. Also, I’m guessing you work in the Energy Industry at a high level? Thought not.

    #12