The pipeline creates opposition between two of Obama’s most important groups of political supporters: environmentalists who want to force Americans to stop using fossil fuels, and Big Labor, which wants the construction jobs.
In reality, this is a fight with environmentalists, climate activists, progressives, ranchers, farmers, and unions on one side and the oil industry on the other. The environmental movement is unified against the tar sands pipeline, whereas labor is split — AFL-CIO’s member unions are in disagreement about the project, with the Building Trades in favor and the Transit Unions opposed. The Building Trades signed a labor agreement with TransCanada in 2010, and were promised 13,000 jobs. Now independent analyses expect about 1,000 temporary construction jobs to be created, a meager benefit for civilizational risks.