The Pipeline Won’t Meet American Demand

One of the main reasons that many proponents call for Keystone XL pipeline because it will supply a steady supply of oil to the United States. On TransCanada’s website it states that the United States would be able to reduce the amount of oil that is imported from Venezuela and the Middle East. TransCanada argues that the United States will continue to import 3.5 to 7.5 million barrels per day until the year 2035. However, these claims by TransCanada are currently irrelevant, as the United States are currently experiencing a boom in domestic oil production.

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Due to Shale and other unconventional oil production, the United States is on the verge of becoming one of the largest oil producers in the world. Thus the energy security argument that TransCanada has framed is in fact unneeded in our country. By having these innovative forms of oil production the United States will be able to have lighter oil than the heavy crude oil that would be pumped from the Keystone XL pipeline. Ultimately, by moving forward with the cleaner oil, the United States would benefit by moving our own domestic production to the market.

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Another argument that needs to be exposed is that Canada at the moment does not have enough tar sands oil to fill current pipelines. According to the NRDC, there is still two million of empty space in a pipeline from Canada to the United States. It is estimated that the Keystone pipeline is only able to export half of what TransCanada states they will be able to export. In fact, the pipeline will not be able to truly export the amount that TransCanada claim they will be able to export until 2025. Therefore Keystone XL pipeline will not be able to meet the current demands of the American pubic. Thus our country must continue to build upon innovative forms oil than build an unneeded pipeline that will cause more harm than good.



 

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Breaking down the claims made by pro-pipeline entities

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Without exception, all arguments in favor of the installment of the pipeline deal with economic benefit. Keystone XL has been labeled as a domestic solution that would curb our dependence on the Middle East and other oil-producing nations, bring thousands of jobs to low-income areas with high unemployment and rake in billions of dollars in revenue. Sounds like a miracle cure, right?

Before we answer that, let’s look at the facts. TransCanada is the major backing organization behind the project. They’ve made some huge claims about job creation, which if true, could have a substantially positive affect on US employment. What they’ve said:

  • “The project would support more than 42,000 direct and indirect jobs nationwide.”
  • “The project is expected to create over seven million hours of labor.”

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Okay, so we’ve seen a few statements from them. But there are a lot of numbers floating around from a lot of different sources. To get what we hope is an objective breakdown of the facts, we turn to a study conducted by Cornell University and the Global Labor Institute. Together, the two entities looked into TransCanada and other pro-Keystone corporations and organizations’ claims about job creation. What they found:

  • The jobs counted are not all new jobs. They include existing Keystone employees and contractors.
  • Only 10-15% of the workforce would be hired locally.”
  • “Estimates do not consider the jobs that might be destroyed as a result of the pipeline and the expanded use of Tar Sands oil.” There have already been 14 oil spills during Phase 1 of construction. Spills threaten water sources that are vital to the livelihoods of farmers, ranchers and some tourism industries.

It never hurts to pull from multiple sources. The US State Department conducted a comprehensive investigation into the pipeline project. What they determined:

  • Construction supports about 42,100 jobs for the 2-year construction period. Per their definition, “A job consists of one position that is filled for one year.” Also important, “the termsupport means jobs ranging from new jobs to the continuity of existing jobs in current or new locations” (Sec. 4.3.3) Jobs would be temporary.
  • “Once the proposed Project enters service, operations would require approximately 50 total employees in the United States: 35 permanent employees and 15 temporary contractors.” (Sec. 4.3.4)Only about 50 persons would remain employed after the two-year construction period is complete.
  • Building off the above finding, “This small number would result in negligible impacts on population, housing, and public services in the proposed Project area” (Sec. 4.3.4) The people who would migrate to the site to work on the pipeline would be left jobless, creating burdens for the project area after the pipeline is completed.

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When you hold up TransCanada’s claims next to actual findings, the discrepancies are apparent. The numbers that do match up, like the 42,000 related jobs claim aren’t put into the context or applied to the timeline of the actual project. Bottom line is, the claims made by TransCanada and other pro-pipeline entities don’t consider a realistic application of these claims. Keystone XL’s construction, as planned, would last only 2 years. With the end of the construction would come the end of nearly all the jobs it put in place. It’s a temporary fix, a band-aid to cover a wound that really needs stitching, not to mention some serious care post-trauma.

Get acquainted with the Keystone XL Pipeline

The Keystone XL Pipeline should not be a partisan issue. It should not even be in contention. Behind the propaganda is the realization of perhaps the worst insult to our environment and to our communities in a time where we are entirely capable of assessing its potential harm. Areas immediately surrounding the pipeline will be subject to toxic emissions and contamination that can lead to illness, aggravate asthma and even heighten the risk of cancerous cell development. It is so far from being a solution. This video is worth watching; it breaks down propaganda and lays out some basic facts. Get informed!