If approved, the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline may actually destroy more jobs than it creates a report released by the Cornell University Global Labor Institute on Wednesday concludes. Projections for the pipeline have been grossly exaggerated, and the project’s effects on oil prices in the Midwest, human health, and the environment may actually kill more jobs than would ever be created.
The construction of the pipeline is expected to raise prices on oil in the Midwest by as much as 10 to 20 cents per gallon, because it will allow the company to divert excess oil away from Midwestern refineries and export it out of the Gulf region. Such a rise places an additional burden on local economies and discourages job creation and retention. Additionally, the report notes, the pipelines’ impacts from potential spills, greenhouse gas emissions and pollution “incur significant economic and human health costs, thus eliminating jobs.”
Finally, much of the economic benefit that TransCanada insists will come from the construction of the project simply won’t materialize, Lara Skinner, associate director of research at the Cornell Global Labor Institute said. “The company’s claim that KXL will create 20,000 direct construction and manufacturing jobs in the U.S. is unsubstantiated," Skinner explained. "There is strong evidence to suggest that a large portion of the steel pipe for KXL has already been built and imported from foreign countries. There's also a huge opportunity cost: Locking in U.S. dependence on fossil fuels will impede progress toward green and sustainable economic renewal and will have a chilling effect on green investments and green job creation.”
President Obama has yet to indicate whether or not he will approve the pipeline.