Obama: Keystone XL Will Create Only 50 Permanent Jobs

Obama: Keystone XL Will Create Only 50 Permanent Jobs

President Barack Obama believes that the Keystone XL pipeline–a proposed nearly 1,200-mile oil pipeline project–would create permanent jobs numbering only in the double digits.

Speaking in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Obama claimed the Keystone XL oil pipeline would create a minimum of jobs, despite a report from his own State Department that flatly contradicts his claims.  Obama, referring to the GOP, said, “They keep on talking about this–an oil pipeline coming down from Canada that’s estimated to create about 50 permanent jobs. That’s not a jobs plan.”

The State Department report does indeed aver that it would take about 50 people to maintain the pipeline after its inception, but it also states the pipeline would create roughly 4,000 annual construction jobs, with an additional 42,000 jobs it might be able to support. 

This was not the first time Obama made this omission; in a recent interview with The New York Times he asserted that Keystone would create only 2,000 construction jobs and possibly an additional 100. He added that those numbers were a “blip relative to the need.”

Obama seemed to get his Chattanooga numbers from a 2011 Cornell University Global Labor Institute study, which is against the building of Keystone.

The Washington Post criticized Obama for the assertion, saying, “Ordinarily, we would expect the president to cite an estimate from his own State Department, rather than a think tank opposed to the project.” After the Post offered that many of the estimates are “guess work,” the paper concluded:

But the president shouldn’t pick and choose how he cites job-creation numbers. Perhaps he is tipping his hand on what he secretly thinks of the Keystone XL by citing a low-ball figure, generated by the pipeline’s opponents, but he should stick to using the official government estimate. 

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was incredulous in response to Obama’s slamming of the pipeline, saying:

A president disparaging private-sector jobs while backstage at a jobs rally is beyond belief. The president’s own State Department reported that Keystone would support upwards of 40,000 jobs. In this economy, any source of private job creation should be welcomed with open arms. After nearly five years and 15,500 pages of review, there is no reason to delay these jobs another day. Republicans, Democrats, leading unions, and job creators all agree, it’s time to start building. 

The Oil Sands Fact Blog, a fact-check site sympathetic to the pipeline, reported the findings of the State Department and said, “Um… that’s a little more than a blip. President Obama also could have consulted the many labor union members across the country who need those jobs and have held rallies in support of Keystone XL across the nation.”