Democracy Now! ran a debate (of sorts) this morning on Keystone XL, which touched upon the jobs claims made by proponents of the pipeline.
As the protests against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline begin tomorrow in Washington DC, here's another stat to add to your repertoire when convincing your family, friends, neighbors, and random people you meet on the street that approving the project is a horrible idea environmentally (or really for any reason I can think of...):The National Wildlife Federation points out that since 2008 there's been a good bit of jobs inflation going on, no doubt as the project developer TransCanada tries to push another button to get support among the US people.
Their initial estimate of 3,500 to 4,200 construction jobs didn't account for all the indirect and spin-off jobs that would be created to support construction of the pipeline. But a closer look at their analysis reveals gross exaggeration. For example, TransCanada's Perryman Group report, which has formed the basis for many of their jobs claims, estimated that Keystone XL would create 22,582 retail trade jobs. I'd be very interested to know how 3,500 to 4,200 construction jobs would, in turn, create 22,582 retail trade jobs. And if TransCanada's track record is any indication, some of the indirect jobs won't even be American jobs. There are reports that TransCanada's use of defective steel from India led to their problems with the Keystone tar sands pipeline. In response to all this, Keystone XL proponents could say that at the end of the day, whether it's 3,500 jobs or 118,000 jobs, the pipeline will create jobs.
The whole 'this will create jobs' justification has got to be the biggest generalized statement of distraction ever foisted on a population. No one wants people out of work and everyone wants there to be good jobs for anyone who needs one, but creating jobs through practices which are destructive environmentally or socially--and which move the United States in the opposite direction to where we ought to be heading in terms of energy policy, in this case--is hardly a good thing in anything but the most narrowly myopic way of looking at the world.
More on the Keystone XL Pipeline
Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Could Have 91 Serious Spills in 50 Years
Bill McKibben Versus The Terrifying Tar Sands (Podcast)