Obama tells Republican lawmakers jobs numbers for Keystone XL oil pipeline overstated - Macleans.ca

Obama tells Republican lawmakers jobs numbers for Keystone XL oil pipeline overstated


WASHINGTON – Jobs numbers and other benefits touted by supporters of the Keystone XL oil pipeline are probably exaggerated, President Barack Obama told House Republicans on Wednesday, according to lawmakers who attended the closed-door meeting.

But Obama did not rule out a decision to approve the $7 billion pipeline, according to participants. Obama told Republicans at the Capitol that he’s still weighing a decision on the pipeline, which would carry oil from western Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Calgary-based TransCanada, which is proposing the pipeline, initially said it could create at least 20,000 jobs, including 13,000 construction jobs and 7,000 jobs among suppliers and manufacturers. The company later clarified that the figures were for one person per year, based on a two-year construction timetable. The State Department has estimated the project would create about 5,000 to 6,000 jobs.

Republican Rep. Lee Terry said Obama appeared “conflicted” on the pipeline, saying that many of the promised jobs would be temporary and that much of the oil produced likely would be exported.

But Terry said Obama also indicated that dire environmental consequences predicted by pipeline opponents were exaggerated.

“He said there were no permanent jobs, and that the oil will be put on ships and exported and that the only ones who are going to get wealthy are the Canadians,” Terry said.

A White House spokesman said Wednesday no decision on the pipeline has been made.

Terry, who supports the long-delayed pipeline, said he wished Obama’s comments were less negative, but said he was still hopeful the project would be approved, a view echoed by Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, another pipeline supporter.

Scalise, who asked Obama about Keystone at the Republican meeting, said the president “made light” of jobs numbers predicted by supporters, including some who have predicted that the project could create as many as 100,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Obama said the pipeline “is not going to create as many jobs as you (Republicans) hope,” Scalise said.

A draft environmental report released by the State Department this month said there would be no significant environmental impact to most resources along the proposed pipeline route, which goes through Montana, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. The report also said other options to get the oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries are worse for climate change.

State Department approval is needed because the project crosses a U.S. border.

On at least one aspect of the pipeline, Obama is “flat-out-wrong,” Terry said. While some oil is likely to be exported, the total is far less than a majority, Terry said. “That was disturbing to me,” he said.

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Obama tells Republican lawmakers jobs numbers for Keystone XL oil pipeline overstated

  1. Job numbers on projects like this, where any number of vested interests are involved, almost always get inflated directly in proportion to the profit potential. Here in Canukistan the Conservatives love to trot out the 900,000 net new jobs which they magically created since coming to power back in the Dark Ages. It’s a time honored tradition on both sides of the border between out two countries.

  2. So Obama might hold up Keystone because he doesn’t want canadians to get rich : look folks here is the bottom line the yanks have gotten our energy at bargain basement prices for years and years and now we are stepping up to the plate to get world price .. YES indeed canadians are going to get richer and americans will get more jobs and other economic opportunities like we canadians investing in partnering with their companies to the benefit of both countries – what is wrong with that – it is time the yankees realize we are no longer the poorer northern cousins – pay back is a you know what – Obama better sign on or the yank’s will regret it – we have bent over backwards as a nation at times to help the yanks get rich and now it’s our turn – case closed!

    • Your sure are you that if the tables were turned and they wanted to run a pipeline of heavy bitumen through Canada, and they were to be the principle beneficiaries, we would be quick to give it the ok?