Climate

Congressman: The Keystone XL Pipeline Is Worth Building Even If It Only Creates One Job

CREDIT: AP

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)

CREDIT: AP

Republicans frequently frame their support for the Keystone XL pipeline as a jobs-creation initiative. “The nearly six-year delay in approving Keystone is costing Americans more than 100,000 jobs,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) erroneously wrote in an op-ed last year.

One GOPer, though, is so gung-ho about Keystone XL that he’s willing to back the idea even if it only creates a single job.

During a town hall meeting last month in Clay Center, Kansas, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) addressed the subject of the proposed 1,179-mile tar sands pipeline. “People argue about how many jobs it would create,” the third-term congressman said. “One’s enough for me!”

Huelskamp went on to argue, in the plural, that “We need more American jobs and good hard construction jobs.”

Watch it (relevant portion begins at 5:25):

It would cost $8 billion to complete construction on the Keystone XL pipeline. Supporters have often used the misleading claim that the controversial project would create 42,000 jobs, based on a State Department estimate. However, the State Department estimates that the pipeline would “support” 42,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs, 99 percent of which would be temporary, not lasting more than the two years.

Meanwhile, an investment of that magnitude in American green energy, in addition to the environmental benefits, would create thousands of permanent jobs. In Huelskamp’s state of Kansas, for instance, wind has grown into an $8 billion industry that has created 13,000 jobs.

The impact in solar could be even greater. Solar, a $15 billion industry, currently employs more than 173,000 Americans and is projected to top 210,000 by the end of 2015.

Though Keystone XL is projected to create more than the single job necessary for Huelskamp’s support, it won’t create that many more. If the project were approved, it would only provide 35 permanent jobs, while carrying and emitting 181 million metric tons of CO2 every year, the equivalent of 51 coal plants.