Pipeline politics hurt U.S. jobs

Washington, D.C., has once again decided to put the short-term jobs of politicians ahead of the long-term needs of U.S. workers.

The latest bit of evidence comes from the State Department’s decision to stop progress on the Keystone XL pipeline – one of the most important updates to America’s energy infrastructure in decades.

Here’s what happened yesterday: The State Department announced that it wants to explore a new route for the Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline. This just happens to push the deadline for final approval of the pipeline beyond the 2012 election.

This disappointing decision comes after energy producers, consumer groups, and organized labor worked with all levels of government for more than three years.

  • Since 2008, the government and industry have held more than 100 open houses and public meetings in six states and Washington, D.C.
  • The government and industry have also gathered thousands of pages of supplemental information and responded to questions submitted by state and federal agencies.
  • In the end, the State Department studied 14 different routes and issued a draft environmental impact statement (EIS), a supplemental draft EIS, and a final EIS that totaled more than 10,000 pages. The entire review process to date has generated more than 300,000 comments from the public.

After all this work, the State Department’s own findings indicated that the pipeline would pose no undue risks to people or the environment – neither by the type of crude it would be carrying, nor by the safety of the pipeline itself.

The decision to delay this project may please some activists, but it will be the American people who will ultimately pay.

Here’s the cost in terms of jobs:

  • The construction and manufacturing of the more than 1,600-mile-long pipeline would create an estimated 20,000 new jobs.
  • Local businesses along the pipeline route would benefit from an estimated 118,000 spin-off jobs.
  • Finally, such analysis does not include the benefits flowing to our economy from the reliable, affordable energy that would be brought from our neighbor to the north.

Keystone XL is important for our economic growth because it would tie us more closely with our No. 1 energy trading partner in Canada. It would help diversify America’s energy sources, giving our economy flexibility as the world’s demand for energy rises.

No one would deny that the U.S. economy faces significant challenges. One of the most important ways we can revive our economy and create more jobs is to update our energy infrastructure to bring reliable, affordable energy to U.S. industry and consumers.

The decision to push back the timeline for the Keystone XL pipeline does nothing to help us achieve this goal, much less the president’s stated goal to look to neighbors like Canada for “stable and steady and reliable sources” of energy.


12 Comments

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  1. Oggy Bleacher says:

    The only thing “short term” is the use of fossil fuels in a flawed and wasteful energy paradigm. Don’t spin this like a loss of jobs because the logistics of a smarter infrastructure will require as many hands on deck as the construction of new pipelines. Really, the pipeline is a misappropriation of human and economic resources and the three years of research was basically an irresponsible and unacceptable waste of time and money. Tar Sands is a flawed source of energy and the pipeline is merely one flawed element of a misguided whole. It demonstrates that when a flawed premise is accepted as true then a series of failures and chaos will follow. Will anyone at ExxonMobil admit they were wrong to begin with?

    • Johnathan Bush says:

      Flawed? I would suppose that we would be better off sending our tax dollars to companies like Solyndra? Yes, this is a loss of jobs, now. Waiting over a year to plan a smarter infrastructure will not help the economy. Jobs now is always better than jobs later.
      I agree, the three years of research was a waste, but only because of people like you and our government getting in the way of producing real change in the economy. If three years was a waste, then yes, the next logical step would be to spend another couple of years replanning a “smarter infrastructure.” Government waste at its best!

    • Trenton Blake says:

      It’s also been said that Democracy is the most flawed form of government… except for all the others that we’ve tried. You claim that petroleum is a flawed and wasteful energy paradigm, and I won’t dispute that there are problems. Perhaps instead of complaining, you can give us a better perspective, one that can handle the current demand and grow to handle demand in the future as well.

      No matter how you spin it, this decision DOES prevent the creation of jobs. Yes, jobs would also be created in setting up a different infrastructure, and if there’s someone out there ready to build it, why haven’t they started? Surely it’s not due to lack of government support.

      Accepting the paradigm of petroleum energy is not accepting a false premise, it’s living in the real world. If you don’t like it, try to change it. I would love to see wind, water, solar, and biomass energy come to dominate our energy sources, but even with massive perks for using such, their production is miniscule, and barring a gargantuan breakthrough, they will be miniscule, though growing, for my lifetime.

    • Michael Maisey says:

      There are a few truths about your comments.

      Look at history for a few moments and yes we are running to end of the present use of this energy source.
      Things to watch for:
      1) Highly efficient ways of storing energy (so watch the battery market closely – above 50% efficiency or better)
      2) Watch the solar market efficiency – it is getting much much better – but not there yet.

      Once these two issues are solved – then we will slowly change our thoughts from a large power plants to smaller local power plants (your house will be absorb enough energy to run itself and charge your vehicles).
      The smaller power plants will run those places that are unable to be self-sustaining (e.g. offices for one, manufacturing plants, etc.)
      So these smaller power plants and transportation will remain to require Hydrocarbon resources. Engines will changed – but diesel will remain.

      So yes, we need these types of projects in our life times, my children will see the number of petrol stations slowly be reduced as these two changes take place.

      As to this pipeline, it will be / is needed for the short-term (next 5- 10yrs.)

      However, this pipeline should also stop in/around the Bakken Formation – the truck traffic in this area is high.

      Life is fun.

      • RK Schmi says:

        There are alternate sources we should be developing, not solar, wind or ethanol. Take a look at the possibilities of zero point energy, super conductors at room temperature, spintronics and see Chava Energy at http://www.chavaenergy.com/ and many other technologies as a beginning.
        Fossil fuels should be used for clothing, food and the production of chemicals.
        Let’s use the energy from the sun. It is free and can be harnessed.

    • RK Schmi says:

      It is little wonder that this nation begins to go down hill, when people actually believe as Oggy Bleacher. How misinformed and wrong can the tree huggers and the liberals be?
      There is no doubt that we should be moving to Tesla type energy. But we haven’t because of the powers that be, prevent it. So we are stuck in a petroleum world. We don’t need to be stuck in a world depending upon radical people that we buy precious energy from to build their militaries and fight us. Let’s wake up and use energy resources we have presently, and develop the latest technologies that use no petroleum, wind or solar. They are available and working but not encouraged by those who are in charge of our energy sources. Therefore, let’s use the energy that we have now that is cheap, abundant and available. Then let us move to nonpolluting cheap sources that generate hundreds of thousands of jobs. Let us also rid ourselves of the self-serving exxons of the world that solely exist to exclusively build their own empire.

  2. Timothy Ruggiero says:

    I have listened very carefully to the commercial Artis Brown stars in, and I just laugh when he says with a straight face that the Keystone XL has the potential to create HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of jobs. Really? That’s an huge number of jobs. With Obama’s approval ratings in the toilet, unemployment at 9% and growing. one would think Obama couldn’t sign off on that pipeline fast enough. Even the State Dept has said that the ’20-30K jobs’ another segment of Industry claims is overestimated by 3 times. So, what Mr. Brown needs to do at this point, is explain to us in much more detail exactly where, and more importantly, over what time frame are these hundreds of thousands of jobs going to be created? Me thinks you are well beyond any semblance of the the truth and reality here.

  3. Double Ess says:

    You both make valid points. Oggy, what is your solution? Are you against all use of Oil or just Tar Sands? Whats wrong with Tar Sands?

  4. RK Schmi says:

    Contrary to the purposes of the presidency of the United States, we desperately need to lock in Canada’s energy resources. Few people realize that Canada has more oil and gas then all the rest of the world put together. It comes from a stable country that wants to do business with us. Prices will be compatible with our economy and currency. It will provide great numbers of jobs for us for as long as we can see into the future. If we are so shortsighted to delay this project this energy and probably future energy will go to China our greatest competitor both economically and militarily. WHY, would we be so shortsighted to lose years and decades of cheap stable energy and hundreds of thousands of jobs?
    It is time to get rid of stupid politicians who have no agenda but to further their own career and the lobbyists that put them in power. Let’s act and bring wisdom to our economic well-being..

  5. Michael Fermanich says:

    Pipeline Politics hurts profits via anything the Koch Brothers have with the connection on pipelines. Yes a monopoly based on logistics controls ie prices of crude oil/finished petro products but who is listening or paying attention. One company can control prices by allowing other bands up pipeline and than pro-rating discounts on own products or partnerships. Sure silent interests by % equals excessive profits for the hidden investments of same oil company or international oil company

  6. Michael Fermanich says:

    Just makes our Neighbors to the North the New OPEC of North America via oil sands fixed pricing applications. Jobs will be for their own citizens and contracted to firms like Halliburrton of other contractors of United States already outsourced around the world. No new jobs just redistribution of old jobs.

  7. Linda Brown says:

    Given all the political turmoil going on in the Middle East, we have to rely on countries that we have good business relationships with that have large oil reserves. After the Macondo incident, jobs were lost and no permits were issued for 10 or so months after that. No one but the oil companies themselves really know all the time and money that it takes to get a reservoir up to production. It is rocket science. Especially in deepwater and harsh conditions.
    Currently, we can’t compete with China on solar energy. Besides, they have been manipulating their currency and cannot be trusted. Alternative energy in still in the testing stage. We need something that is tried and true. That is oil, and it is working. Has been. And God bless the Koch brothers. They made their money in oil. That’s where it’s at.
    The Republican leadership in the House has just recently attached the pipeline issue to the tax cuts that will run out at the end of December. The bad news is that President Obama has said that he will veto it if the pipeline language is included.
    From now until the 2012 elections, it looks like there will be nothing but gridlock and political posturing. The issues will take a back seat to campaigning.

  8. Oggy Bleacher says:

    The only thing “short term” is the use of fossil fuels in a flawed and wasteful energy paradigm. Don’t spin this like a loss of jobs because the logistics of a smarter infrastructure will require as many hands on deck as the construction of new pipelines. Really, the pipeline is a misappropriation of human and economic resources and the three years of research was basically an irresponsible and unacceptable waste of time and money. Tar Sands is a flawed source of energy and the pipeline is merely one flawed element of a misguided whole. It demonstrates that when a flawed premise is accepted as true then a series of failures and chaos will follow. Will anyone at ExxonMobil admit they were wrong to begin with?

    • Johnathan Bush says:

      Flawed? I would suppose that we would be better off sending our tax dollars to companies like Solyndra? Yes, this is a loss of jobs, now. Waiting over a year to plan a smarter infrastructure will not help the economy. Jobs now is always better than jobs later.
      I agree, the three years of research was a waste, but only because of people like you and our government getting in the way of producing real change in the economy. If three years was a waste, then yes, the next logical step would be to spend another couple of years replanning a “smarter infrastructure.” Government waste at its best!

    • Trenton Blake says:

      It’s also been said that Democracy is the most flawed form of government… except for all the others that we’ve tried. You claim that petroleum is a flawed and wasteful energy paradigm, and I won’t dispute that there are problems. Perhaps instead of complaining, you can give us a better perspective, one that can handle the current demand and grow to handle demand in the future as well.

      No matter how you spin it, this decision DOES prevent the creation of jobs. Yes, jobs would also be created in setting up a different infrastructure, and if there’s someone out there ready to build it, why haven’t they started? Surely it’s not due to lack of government support.

      Accepting the paradigm of petroleum energy is not accepting a false premise, it’s living in the real world. If you don’t like it, try to change it. I would love to see wind, water, solar, and biomass energy come to dominate our energy sources, but even with massive perks for using such, their production is miniscule, and barring a gargantuan breakthrough, they will be miniscule, though growing, for my lifetime.

    • Michael Maisey says:

      There are a few truths about your comments.

      Look at history for a few moments and yes we are running to end of the present use of this energy source.
      Things to watch for:
      1) Highly efficient ways of storing energy (so watch the battery market closely – above 50% efficiency or better)
      2) Watch the solar market efficiency – it is getting much much better – but not there yet.

      Once these two issues are solved – then we will slowly change our thoughts from a large power plants to smaller local power plants (your house will be absorb enough energy to run itself and charge your vehicles).
      The smaller power plants will run those places that are unable to be self-sustaining (e.g. offices for one, manufacturing plants, etc.)
      So these smaller power plants and transportation will remain to require Hydrocarbon resources. Engines will changed – but diesel will remain.

      So yes, we need these types of projects in our life times, my children will see the number of petrol stations slowly be reduced as these two changes take place.

      As to this pipeline, it will be / is needed for the short-term (next 5- 10yrs.)

      However, this pipeline should also stop in/around the Bakken Formation – the truck traffic in this area is high.

      Life is fun.

      • RK Schmi says:

        There are alternate sources we should be developing, not solar, wind or ethanol. Take a look at the possibilities of zero point energy, super conductors at room temperature, spintronics and see Chava Energy at http://www.chavaenergy.com/ and many other technologies as a beginning.
        Fossil fuels should be used for clothing, food and the production of chemicals.
        Let’s use the energy from the sun. It is free and can be harnessed.

    • RK Schmi says:

      It is little wonder that this nation begins to go down hill, when people actually believe as Oggy Bleacher. How misinformed and wrong can the tree huggers and the liberals be?
      There is no doubt that we should be moving to Tesla type energy. But we haven’t because of the powers that be, prevent it. So we are stuck in a petroleum world. We don’t need to be stuck in a world depending upon radical people that we buy precious energy from to build their militaries and fight us. Let’s wake up and use energy resources we have presently, and develop the latest technologies that use no petroleum, wind or solar. They are available and working but not encouraged by those who are in charge of our energy sources. Therefore, let’s use the energy that we have now that is cheap, abundant and available. Then let us move to nonpolluting cheap sources that generate hundreds of thousands of jobs. Let us also rid ourselves of the self-serving exxons of the world that solely exist to exclusively build their own empire.

  9. Timothy Ruggiero says:

    I have listened very carefully to the commercial Artis Brown stars in, and I just laugh when he says with a straight face that the Keystone XL has the potential to create HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of jobs. Really? That’s an huge number of jobs. With Obama’s approval ratings in the toilet, unemployment at 9% and growing. one would think Obama couldn’t sign off on that pipeline fast enough. Even the State Dept has said that the ’20-30K jobs’ another segment of Industry claims is overestimated by 3 times. So, what Mr. Brown needs to do at this point, is explain to us in much more detail exactly where, and more importantly, over what time frame are these hundreds of thousands of jobs going to be created? Me thinks you are well beyond any semblance of the the truth and reality here.

  10. Double Ess says:

    You both make valid points. Oggy, what is your solution? Are you against all use of Oil or just Tar Sands? Whats wrong with Tar Sands?