Grade Inflation: GOP Still Pushing False Keystone Job Numbers

The Keystone XL Pipeline has been catapulted back in the spotlight of the House of Representatives this week, with Republicans continuing to waste taxpayer dollars rehashing who has the power to approve the project. Meanwhile, the State Department will be hosting a public hearing in Nebraska today to give residents a chance to comment on the pipeline that will disrupt their local communities.

Earlier this week, both the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power and the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R.3), which would usurp the State Department’s right to decide on Keystone and allow TransCanada Corp. to build the northern leg without a cross-border permit. Republicans in both hearings regurgitated typical Big Oil talking points, claiming Keystone would create thousands of jobs for American workers while providing a boost in U.S. energy security.

During his opening statement on Tuesday’s Subcommittee hearing, Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY) said:

At this point we are all familiar with the benefits of this project that would bring more Canadian oil to Midwestern and Gulf Coast refineries. The estimated 20,000 direct and 100,000 indirect jobs alone would likely make it a more successful jobs program than any project in the $800 billion dollar stimulus package or any other job creating effort the president currently has in the works.

In reality, Keystone would create 3,900 temporary jobs and only 35 permanent, while providing “negligible socioeconomic impacts,” according to a report by the State Department. While Republicans may try to blame the administration for the less than ideal jobs numbers, the report was actually written by a private consulting firm with links to the pipeline’s owner, TransCanada Corp., as well as Exxon Mobil, BP and the Koch brothers.

Multiple other GOP members made reference to the supposed boost in national security the pipeline will supply, but the State Department’s report made clear that at least some of the Keystone oil will be refined and then exported in response “to lower domestic gasoline demand and continued higher demand and prices in overseas markets.” This means Keystone adds nothing to U.S. energy security and that the pipeline is a way for the industry to get access to steeper oil prices in foreign markets.

Once again, analysis has discovered that Big Oil has paid to secure their yea votes on Keystone, with members of the Energy and Commerce Committee who voted to approve H.R.3 having received eight times more in career contributions from the oil and gas industries. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, members voting to approve the pipeline received $8,686,427 while members voting against received only $1,020,631.

Nebraskans will have a chance to express how they feel about Big Oil buying votes today, with a public hearing held by the State Department beginning at 12pm in Grand Island, Nebraska. The All Risk, No Reward Coalition and other environmental groups have released ads reminding Nebraskans that oil will spill frequently as it is pumped through the U.S. on its way to be exported out of the country.

Tiffany Germain is a Senior Climate/Energy Researcher in the Think Progress War Room.

6 Responses to Grade Inflation: GOP Still Pushing False Keystone Job Numbers

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    We need to fault the press here. The word has gone out that it’s OK to just lie like hell to the public. Nobody will call them on it, and if a reporter does, it’s buried on page 18. If debunking a lie like this one makes it to the front page or the evening news, people won’t care. This is a spiritual problem, enhanced by Dick Cheney: “We make our own reality”.

  2. fj says:

    Completely underming the rule of law in this country the special interests of the Keystone XL pipeline must not be allowed to prevail.

  3. Zimzone says:

    35 permanent jobs.
    35 permanent jobs.
    35 permanent jobs.
    35 permanent jobs.

    Need I say more?

  4. Bill Wilson says:

    Not designed and tested or follow up visit it seems. High pressure high heat and tremendous friction with different temperatures and strains from earth moving. Just no answers and hope someone follows up to find out these questions.

  5. Ed Leaver says:

    Reuters UK has a piece today on the relative merits of rail vs. pipe for transporting tar sands crude to the Gulf Coast:
    Oil-by-train may not be substitute for Keystone pipeline (I was one here who has suggested it might be):

    While the State Department says in the report that moving a barrel of heavy crude through a Keystone pipeline would cost no more than $10 a barrel, oil sand producers say they are facing costs closer to $30 a barrel by train…

    Mayan crude, the Mexico benchmark akin to oil sands crude, was trading at about $106 a barrel in March, while the Canadian product was valued at about $83 in markets north of the border. Oil sand producers therefore had incentives to move a barrel of their product to the Gulf Coast if they could do so under the roughly $23 spread…

    “The cheapest way to get from point A to point B is a pipeline,” said Raymond James analyst Steve Hansen. “That is why Keystone has got to go ahead.”

  6. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Lying has become, slowly but inexorably, not just permissible but obligatory, in Western public life. I count the lies while watching or listening to the news, and often find myself yelling intemperately at the sheer brazenness of it all. A good deal, however, seems to me to be merely groupthink in action, and the low type now masquerading as ‘journalists’ often, transparently, have no idea of history, and little idea of what is transpiring now. And they have this amazing capacity to credit the most outrageous utterances of serial liars and misrepresenters, as if terminally credulous or afflicted with total lack of recall. Or perhaps they are just ensuring the success of their chosen ‘profession’, the second oldest known to man.