In a move that should ease the worries of those concerned that America is planning on withdrawing from global trade, President Trump recently strengthened ties with Canada when he signed an executive order to propel forward construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
The planned pipeline, which would help reduce America’s reliance on oil markets in hostile regions, will carry oil from Canada to U.S. refineries along the Gulf of Mexico; Obama’s State Department estimated a total of 42,100 jobs (and TransCanada, the firm aspiring to build Keystone, concurred with that estimate) could be created.
President Trump’s executive order allows TransCanada to re-submit its application for approval to the Department of State and directs Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to make his decision within 60 days. In response, TransCanada thanked President Trump and said it plans to reapply.
While it’s true that many of the initial jobs would end after Keystone is completed, the pipeline would also send more oil products for handling and refining along the Gulf Coast, boosting more permanent jobs and perhaps even jumpstarting further investment in America’s oil-producing regions.
As Ellen Wald outlines in Forbes, “spin-off” jobs created in related industries because of Keystone would include jobs in areas like refining, manufacturing, petroleum transportation and petroleum-dependent manufacturing. TransCanada hired the Perryman Group to project the long-term economic impact of the pipeline; Perryman estimated between 250,348 and 553,235 spin-off jobs would be created.
“spin-off” jobs created in related industries because of Keystone would include jobs in areas like refining, manufacturing, petroleum transportation and petroleum-dependent manufacturing.
Wald also points out that in the case of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, the completed project enticed more oil companies to invest in Alaska’s energy industry. Alaska eventually achieved high levels of economic growth from this robust energy industry. The Keystone XL Pipeline would likewise make it easier to bring oil produced in Alberta, Canada and North Dakota to the global market. In addition, there are multiple opportunities for other pipelines servicing shale fields in, for example, Ohio and Pennsylvania to link to Keystone XL. This may entice further investment in those regions.
When built, Keystone’s business would boost state revenues including those in the Gulf Coast region that was badly battered by Hurricane Katrina and other storms. President Trump is now moving to jumpstart growth in The Big Easy.
Environmentalists point out that oil from the Canadian bitumen deposits carried by the Keystone pipeline creates between 14 percent and 20 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than oil typically consumed in the U.S. at present. Yet by staying on the sidelines, America wouldn’t stop innovative Canadians from extracting crude oil and getting it to market to be burned, either in the U.S. or other countries.
much of this oil is traveling to America already by rail.
Indeed, much of this oil is traveling to America already by rail. While it’s true that oil pipelines are dangerous, ground-based train tanker cars are even more dangerous–a fact that will end up saving lives if President Trump gives final approval to Keystone. In 2013, for example, 47 people died in Lac-Mégantic in Quebec, Canada, where an unmanned train, including 72 tanker cars loaded with crude oil, rolled downhill, exploded and destroyed 40 buildings, with an estimated 5.6 million liters (1.5 million gallons) of crude oil spilled or burned.
As FactCheck.org reports, that calamity was far from an isolated accident, with recent tanker derailments, spillages and fireballs sprouting up throughout the United States and Canada. An investigative news report by McClatchy looking at federal data found that in 2013, more oil spilled in the United States from rail tank cars than in all the nearly 40 previous years on record combined.
By saving lives and creating jobs while retaining America’s competitiveness without additional negative impact on the environment, President Trump is following through on one of his major promises on the campaign trail by greenlighting the Keystone Pipeline.
Carrie Sheffield is a senior contributor for Opportunity Lives. You can follow her on Twitter @carriesheffield and on Facebook.