In his historic climate address in June, President Obama changed the debate surrounding the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The President made the climate impact of the pipeline the primary criteria for the project’s approval.
President Obama spoke up again about the Keystone Pipeline this past weekend in an interview with the New York Times. Specifically, the President dispelled the widely repeated myth that the pipeline would create thousands of permanent jobs. The President stated:
“…This might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline -- which might take a year or two -- and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 [chuckles] jobs in a economy of 150 million working people.”
The President also pointed out that the Keystone project, contrary to pipeline proponents’ beliefs, could increase gas prices in the Midwest:
“So what we also know is, that oil is going to be piped down to the Gulf to be sold on the world oil markets, so it does not bring down gas prices here in the United States. In fact, it might actually cause some gas prices in the Midwest to go up where currently they can’t ship some of that oil to world markets.”
Echoing the President’s remarks, Consumer Watchdog’s researcher Judy Dugan said, “The pipeline is being built through America, but not for Americans.”
The President was also asked if Canada could offset concerns about the pipeline’s climate impact with a plan to mitigate carbon release. President Obama replied that a mitigation plan would be considered in John Kerry’s decision or recommendation on the issue.
However, it is abundantly clear that Canada will be unable to mitigate the carbon emissions from tar sands production any time soon. It would take 37 million cars to equal the additional carbon pollution that Keystone XL would emit if it were approved, and Canada just can’t assuage such severe climatic consequences.
The pipeline would create a negligible number of permanent jobs while increasing domestic oil prices, as well as contributing largely and irreversibly to climate change. The risks outweigh the benefits because there are no benefits. This ad released by the All Risk No Reward coalition, which LCV is a part of, makes that apparent:
According to a Washington Post blog, the President’s recent comments on Keystone “suggest he accepts much of the criticism opponents have lodged against the project.” We are very encouraged by President Obama’s statements this past weekend, and strongly urge Secretary Kerry to side with the facts and reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
(Photo courtesy of Elvert Barnes's Flickr Page)