In a speech on Tuesday focused on repairing the American economy, President Obama called out Republicans in Congress for flouting serious job-creation efforts in favor of trying to repeal environmental regulations and push for the creation of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
While Republicans have advocated for Keystone by insisting that it will create jobs, Obama slammed that assertion Tuesday, pointing to the Cornell University estimate that Keystone would only create 50 permanent jobs:
If [Congressional Republicans have] got a better plan to create jobs rebuilding our infrastructure or to help workers earn the high-tech skills they need, then they should offer up these ideas. But I’ve got to tell you, just gutting our environmental protection, that’s not a jobs plan. Gutting investments in education, that’s not a jobs plan. You know, they keep on talking about an oil pipeline coming down from Canada that’s estimated to create about 50 permanent jobs. That’s not a jobs plan.
An estimate done by Obama’s own State Department pegs the the total number of permanent jobs created by Keystone even lower — at a mere 35. But that’s not the only reason not to build it; were the pipeline completed, it would emit levels of CO2 equivalent to that of 51 coal-fired power plants.
While for a time it seemed as though the pipeline was set to go through, more recently, Obama has been on the fence about Keystone’s creation. In a speech last month, he set the ultimatum that he would only approve it if it “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” Surely, he will find that it does. A recent National Resources Defense Council estimate of the project found that “approving the tar sands pipeline would add 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon pollution to the atmosphere over the 50-year lifespan of the project.”