Won’t most of the Keystone XL pipeline jobs be short-term?
The Keystone XL pipeline is the largest shovel-ready project around, but the construction and permanent jobs it would create get little credit from people who oppose the pipeline or the Canadian oil sands crude it would carry.
TransCanada has reported that the Keystone XL project will create 20,000 new jobs, and has even broken down that number to account for the welders and clerks that the project requires. TransCanada explained:
"Construction of the 1,600 mile pipeline is broken down into 17 U.S. pipeline spreads or segments, with 500 workers per spread – that’s 8,500 jobs. Keystone XL also needs 30 pump stations worth tens of millions of dollars. Each station requires 100 workers – that's 3,000 jobs. Add another 600 jobs that would be needed for the six construction camps and tank construction at Cushing, Oklahoma. A project of such magnitude needs construction, management and inspection oversight – that would create 1,000 jobs, bringing the overall Keystone XL total to 13,000 direct, on-site jobs."
Add in an estimated 7,000 jobs for manufacturing the materials that will be used to build the pipeline, and you get 20,000.
The Keystone XL pipeline’s long-term job-creating power must be acknowledged as it provides an important link between Canada’s vast oil sands resource (as well as new, shale-based U.S. oil in the Bakken region) and U.S. Gulf Coast refiners, second to none in their ability to process oil sands and other heavy crudes.
When the Keystone XL is built, it will allow for investment in future oil sands projects. A study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates the creation of nearly 500,000 U.S. jobs by 2035 as a result of this oil sands development – of which the Keystone XL would be an integral part. That’s direct, indirect and induced jobs – using the same modeling employed in a number of job studies.
Finally, we must remember that every job counts at a time when more than 12 million Americans are unemployed. Laborers’ International Union of North America President Terrence O’Sullivan explained,
"For the men and women of our union, the Keystone XL's not just a pipeline, it's a lifeline…It's a Depression-like situation for construction workers throughout our great country…Our country needs to do more of this, matching men and women who need work with work that needs to be done."
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