Jobs & the Economy

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There’s no question that oil sands development and Keystone XL will create thousands of jobs.  The pipeline, and the oil sands it will transport, will generate billions in wages and benefits for hard working Americans, which will greatly strengthen our economy.

  • The Obama State Department found that Keystone XL will support over 42,000 jobs and put $2 billion in workers’ pockets.
  • Nearly 5,000 jobs were created to construct the “southern leg” of Keystone XL.
  • The Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) estimates that expanded oil sands development – which would be facilitated by Keystone XL – could create 117,000 new U.S. jobs over the next 15 years.’
  • 1 out of every 5 jobs created as a result of new oil sands projects occurs within the continental United States.
  • TransCanada predicts that $20 billion will be injected into the American economy by Keystone XL.

No one understands the importance of Keystone XL jobs better than union and labor groups who have rallied across the country to tell President Obama to approve the pipeline.  As the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) explained in a letter, “unemployed construction workers desperately need the work” and Keystone XL is a “lifeline” for thousands of members.

As TransCanada reported, the company employed almost 5,000 workers to build “southern leg” of the Keystone XL pipeline, which was recently completed and has begun transporting oil.  As Union boss Danny Henrix explained about these jobs, “These jobs are really good-paying jobs. They provide not only a good living wage, they provide health care and they also provide pension.”  Henrix also stressed, “If the permit gets approved, we’ll start construction on the northern end of it immediately.”

In fact, workers who just completed the southern leg of Keystone XL – many of which are members of the Pipeliners Local 798 – rallied last year in Tulsa, Oklahoma to tell President Obama to approve Keystone XL and provide thousands more jobs for workers.

Oil Sands Fact Check released a video on May 8, 2013, featuring what leaders in the union and labor community have said about Keystone XL jobs:

“The interstate highway system was a temporary job; Mount Rushmore was a temporary job. If they (opponents) knew anything about the construction industry they’d understand that we work ourselves out of jobs and we go from job to job to job.” – Sean McGarvey, President of the Building and Construction Trades Department at AFL-CIO

“It’s about jobs; that’s what it’s about – put Americans back to work again… It’s good for our economy, it’s good for our country; it’s good for our energy independence and it’s good for working men and women in the building trades.” Terry O’Sullivan, President of Labors International Union of North America (LIUNA)

 “Anything that makes sense and creates jobs and is sound environmental policy as well, we will be doing it. [With respect to] the XL pipeline, there’s no environmental reason that it can’t be done safely while at the same time creating jobs.” – Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO

 “The American construction industry has suffered greatly [...] far too many of our members have lost homes and are struggling to put food on the table. The Keystone XL project will create tens of thousands of good paying jobs here in the United States and Canada. For many members of our unions, Keystone XL is not just a pipeline; it is, in the most literal sense, a lifeline.” Sean McGarvey, President of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO

 “We desperately need those jobs and if I was to deliver a message him it would be this: Mr. President, put yourself in those shoes, of those 42,000 people.” Patrick Gleason, Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council

Union and labor groups aren’t the only ones who are hoping for the jobs and economic growth of Keystone XL.  The promise of Keystone XL has been on full display across the county, especially in the small communities through which the pipeline would traverse.  As NBC reported, the residents of a small community, Circle, Montana, “pray for Keystone XL,” as the town is in desperate need of the economic growth and revenue the pipeline would bring. As one Circle resident, Denny Hogan, put it,

 “If there is no pipeline, there is no future,” said Denny Hogan, the commander of VFW Post 4813. “End of conversation.”

Meet the Press also highlighted Steele City, Nebraska where residents are hoping for the pipeline’s approval. As one restaurant owner put it, “It boosts the economy for everyone around here.”  The Omaha World-Herald also interviewed Steele City residents and as Michael Dux, a Jefferson County Board explained,

 “People here are in favor of [Keystone XL]. The only people against anything are the ones against it being on someone else’s land instead of theirs.”