Congress insisted on a February 21 deadline to approve the pipeline, and the Obama administration says no can do. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says that what got in the way was being forced to decide quickly because of politics.
“The Republicans put in jeopardy a process that should be immune from politics, should be conducted on the basis of pragmatic and considered analysis, and tried to hijack it,” Carney said at his daily press briefing.
Republicans are going crazy claiming this means President Obama doesn’t care about jobs. The jobs claims are based on numbers by the company building the pipeline, as the Washington Post fact checker points out. And there is more to the veracity of the jobs numbers:
TransCanada Corp., which is pushing to build the pipeline, claims that Keystone XL “was poised to put 20,000 Americans to work to construct the pipeline.” The company also cites another figure — 118,000 spin-off jobs Keystone XL would create through increased business for local restaurants, hotels and suppliers — that comes from a study commissioned by the company. The study even suggested that under “normal” oil price assumptions, the number of permanent jobs would top 250,000.
[TransCanada CEO Russ] Girling said Friday that the 13,000 figure was “one person, one year,” meaning that if the construction jobs lasted two years, the number of people employed in each of the two years would be 6,500. That brings the company’s number closer to the State Department’s; State says the project would create 5,000 to 6,000 construction jobs, a figure that was calculated by its contractor Cardno Entrix.
As for the 7,000 indirect supply chain jobs, the $1.9 billion already spent by TransCanada would reduce the number of jobs that would be created in the future. The Brixton Group, a firm working with opponents of the project, has argued that many of the indirect supply jobs would be outside the United States because about $1.7 billion worth of steel will be purchased from a Russian-owned mill in Canada.
And as for safety:
One example of what worries activists: the break in an Exxon Mobil pipeline in Montana over the summer. On Friday, Exxon said efforts to control and clean up the 42,000-gallon spill would cost about $135 million.