The Benefits and Drawbacks of the Keystone XL Pipeline
Americans are confused, baffled, and don’t know much about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. In talking with the general public, I’ve become aware of the wide array of varying opinions surrounding development and implementation of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. It’s not hard to see why—claims from various sources flying in every direction like airplanes over O’Hare. Coupled with the political battle that is ongoing there’s clearly opportunity for Americans to digest misinformation.
Why are people confused and baffled? One possible reason is politics. The proposed pipeline has been a political hot topic, and both political parties may be stretching the truth. Republicans, along with TransCanada, continue to overstate the amount of jobs we’re talking about with this project. On the other side, Democrats have been citing safety and the environment as reasons this project should not move forward. Americans are caught in the middle, with various media outlets providing various numbers surrounding pros and cons to this project. It’s no wonder Americans are confused.
[See a collection of political cartoons on energy policy.]
Can you believe that some Americans think this pipeline is needed to connect us to a “new” source of oil? The United States has been a destination for Canadian oil for decades, and is already our number one source of imported oil—this likely won’t change with Keystone. But what about jobs? Sure, Keystone will add construction jobs—temporary construction jobs. This is a huge area of misinformation. 20,000 jobs? 10,000 jobs? With November elections less than a year away, every politician wants to show how many jobs he or she has helped add, and what easier way to do it by inflating potential jobs added and advertising it? Sen. Dick Lugar and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have already claimed that the new pipeline would add 20,000 new jobs, as has TransCanada. As time has gone by since those claims, we’ve seen lower amount of new jobs claims added. Recently, Cornell University completed an independent assessment which stated the project may produce between 2,500-4,650 jobs and could even (are you ready for this?) cost the country jobs in the years ahead!
So who completed the study from TransCanada? A company called the Perryman Group. Now—much like in a court of law where expert witnesses are hired, they often “find” evidence that supports their client. Have you ever seen a case where an expert brought in agreed with the opposite side? So did we really expect Perryman Group to be impartial and fair? We also have lawmakers push the pipeline, some even own TransCanada stock—so are they biased or likely to push it because their dollars are in on this? Isn’t pushing the pipeline more of a conflict of interest so they can retire in Tahiti? For the record, I’d love to retire in Tahiti, but not at the cost of my integrity.