Over the last two years there has been a lot of talk about the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which is a $5.4 billion project that would transport oil from Canada to the gulf coast. I’ve never professed my support or opposition to the project, but I did agree with the Obama administration’s decision to look into the consequences such a pipeline would have.
Two things about this debate are very clear:
- Republicans are vastly overhyping the impact that the construction of this pipeline would have on job creation and gas prices; it will result in few permanent jobs over the long term and won’t make a dent in the price we pay at the pump.
- Democrats are vastly overhyping the impact that the pipeline would have on the environment; it would not substantially increase carbon emissions or greenhouse gases.
A report released by the State Department underscores each of these two points. The report not only found that a scant 35 permanent jobs would be created, but it also confirmed that carbon emissions would not dramatically increase either.
Regardless of the government’s ultimate decision regarding this pipeline, it’s clear that both sides are exaggerating the benefits or drawbacks of such a project – so I call it a wash on those points.
Ultimately, though, this oil is still going to be developed, with or without the government’s approval of the project. But I’d much rather see that energy transported through a pipeline that was built by American workers. Sure, the vast majority of those workers will be temporary, but I still consider temporary jobs better than no jobs at all.
If Keystone XL is constructed and maintained in a way that won’t harm the surrounding environment - which the State Department’s report says is possible - then I believe the Obama administration should approve it.