Keystone XL Makes No Economic Sense for America

The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), a coalition of 45 business organizations, urged President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline. ASBC Executive Director David Levine, said

“Contrary to the claims of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute and other pipeline advocates who threaten political retaliation if the pipeline is not approved, Keystone XL would not deliver on jobs, energy, safety or economic competitiveness.”

Keystone XL Won’t Create Longterm Jobs 

Most of the oil that Keystone XL would carry from Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas is destined for export, and the jobs the pipeline would create would be just as fleeting. The State Department estimated the pipeline construction workforce at 5,000 to 6,000 workers and as the Vice President of Keystone Pipeline for TransCanada told CNN, long-term jobs would be in the “hundreds, certainly not in the thousands.”

Keystone would deliver far less bang for the buck when it comes to job creation than alternative energy. A dollar of spending in clean energy generates three times as many jobs as a dollar spent on oil and gas, according to U.S. Commerce Department data.

Tar Sands Fuel is A Boon for Oil Companies, Not for America

Keystone is a boondoggle for oil companies, not an investment in our nation’s economic competitiveness. Keystone will leave us even further behind Germany, China and other countries that are dominating the rapidly growing global clean technology market.

A Keystone XL Oil Spill Can Threaten Drinking & Irrigation Water Supplies

Keystone would increase the kind of catastrophic environmental risk the World Economic Forum warns about in its just released Global Risks 2012. Keystone oil will be extracted from tar sands and its carbon emissions are 82% greater than the average crude refined in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Keystone will increase carbon emissions and environmental risk. The pipeline would threaten the Ogallala aquifer, a large and irreplaceable supply of drinking water and irrigation in the Great Plains. If this supply were contaminated by an oil spill, the costs to the public and business would be incalculable, and some of America’s most productive farmland would be lost.

Oil for Export Will Not Bring Energy Independence

Frank Knapp, Vice Chairman of ASBC and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce said,

“Keystone is a sneak attack on American’s wallets. Its real aim is to import oil from Canada, refine it, and then export it to foreign buyers. For most businesses and consumers in the mid-west, the pipeline will serve up higher energy prices and higher food prices, since food prices include the price of energy and oil-based fertilizer needed to grow crops. That’s the last thing we need for real economic recovery.”

“Keystone makes no economic sense for America,” said ASBC co-founder and Director David Brodwin.  “Once we take into account the true cost of oil including subsidies, environmental damage, and military costs, oil is far more expensive than the alternatives.  The best thing we can do for the American economy and for American businesses as a whole is to wean ourselves from oil as quickly as possible.”

Keystone XL Protestor Image via Shutterstock

About the Author

Hi there! I am Priti and I specialize in strategy and communications for impact organizations that aim to create social, environmental and economic wealth for all stakeholders. Working from the ground up, I help these do-gooders craft effective programs for community engagement, outreach and profitability. Follow my work covering do-gooders, cleanweb, start-ups and Web 2.0 businesses on Ecopreneurist and at Crowdsourcing Week. I enjoy traveling with my boys, cooking up a gourmet meal from scratch and entertaining! Join my community for Social Entrepreneurs on G+ Follow me on Twitter, on LinkedIn and Google+
  • Steve Thompson

    Open-minded and unbiased discussion is necessary in this case to get all stakeholders and the general public to come to the realization that elevated levels of greenhouse gas emissions are not the only issue facing oil sands mining operations. As shown in this article, the massive size of the operations are contaminating the local Athabasca watershed, creating potential issues for downstream inhabitants:

    As the mining process increases in size, so does the problem no matter the ultimate destination of the oil or the routing of the pipeline that gets it there.

  • Warren Clayton

    Montana says it will get $63 million in property taxes per year from the project. In a state where the average household income is $35,000 this equates to the equivalent of 1800 jobs. Permanent jobs. Montana also will benefit from access to the line for its share of 100 thousand bpd that it and N Dakota will ship. Providing more jobs. On a well to wheels basis, oilsands production creates between 8% less and 15% more CO2 than competitive crude. ‘Conventional’ crude is getting rarer and many sources have higher CO2 footprints such as Nigerian where flaring of associated gas is rampant. Contrary to your imagination, more oilsands production is done through drilling and this is how 80% of the resource will be produced. Some processes use little water and don’t occur in the Athabasca drainage anyway. How odd it is that if a US company took Canadian iron ore and turned it in to cars or machinery for export that would be considered good but taking Canadian oil and refining it in to gas and diesel for export is wrong. How come?

    • Thank you for your comment and for reading EP! There is nothing wrong with export itself. But politicians are painting a different picture- they portray KXL as a path to energy independence and the creation of hundreds and thousands of jobs, which is not exactly correct. As for the fragile ecosystem damage, it has potential to disrupt other jobs that depend on it. The ecosystem is the lifeline for hundreds of thousands of jobs and as we have seen in the past, spills and such have the potential to wipe out communities and their livelihood.
      We need to see the whole picture.

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  • “Keystone XL Makes no Economic Sense for America”
    was a really pleasant posting, . Keep authoring and I’ll try to keep on reading through! Thank you -Dominick

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