While Tom Steyer may be confused on jobs, no one else is

Tom Steyer is trying to grab headlines again, this time putting out a press release announcing NextGen Climate Action’s new “study” which argues that there are “diverging job estimates” on Keystone XL. Shocking, we know.

At OSFC we clicked on the link to the study expecting, well, a study. But all we found was an infographic with darts depicting the different job estimates, another link to an old Steyer video, and a single paragraph that reads:

“A new study by NextGen Climate Action shows the widely diverging job estimates used by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, TransCanada and other Keystone XL Pipeline supporters. Research of media statements found that Keystone supporters have provided numbers ranging from 1 million to 20,000 temporary and permanent U.S. jobs.”

That’s it? And Steyer and NextGen were billing that as a “study”?

First of all, of course there are “diverging job estimates” because there are diverging ways of evaluating the thousands of jobs that would be created by Keystone XL.  Here are the facts:

  • The State Department found that 42,100 jobs would be generated during the construction of the project – these are direct jobs.
  • This excludes the 4,000 construction jobs that have already been created just by the Southern leg of Keystone XL.
  • The Canadian Energy Research Institute projects that more 117,000 new U.S. jobs will be created over the next 15 years due to oil sands development linked to Keystone XL.
  • And, more broadly, for every two jobs created to support Canada’s oil sands development operations, approximately one is created in the United States.

No matter where you look for a jobs estimate the truth is found: Keystone XL is a job creator.

While it’s good to see that Steyer is looking to the State Department for information, it’s not surprising that he simply decides to ignore the 42,100 jobs the State Department said would be supported by Keystone XL.

Steyer’s latest publicity stunt will likely be ignored by the press again, and it’s not difficult to see why.  While Steyer may be confused about Keystone XL’s enormous potential for job creation, no one else is.  It’s no wonder that business and labor organizations as well as Democrats and Republicans across the country are calling on President Obama to approve Keystone XL and put Americans to work.

Union members have rallied at the White House and across America to ask President Obama to approve the pipeline and create thousands of jobs:

  • Terry O’Sullivan President of Labors International Union of North America (LIUNA): “It’s about jobs; that’s what it’s about.”
  • Jim Yuhase of Ironworkers Local 5: “It means jobs for our union – our guys – we have about 100 members out of work that could really use the jobs.”
  • Sean McGarvey President of the Building and Construction Trades Department at AFL-CIO: “The interstate highway system was a temporary job; Mount Rushmore was a temporary job. If they 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.”

And what have prominent Democrats had to say about Keystone XL jobs?

  • Senator Baucus (D-Mont.): “Approving the Keystone Pipeline is the perfect opportunity to put Americans to work right now. American workers cannot afford to wait any longer for Keystone jobs, and there is absolutely no excuse for further delay.”
  • Senator Heitkamp (D-N.D.): “[T]he Keystone XL pipeline will create good-paying American jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”
  • Senator Begich (D-Alaska): “The Keystone XL pipeline will give our economy an added boost by creating thousands of jobs and securing a reliable energy supply close to home.”
  • Senator Manchin (D-W. Va.): “As our economy continues to recover, there’s no dispute that the Keystone XL Pipeline would create good-paying jobs right here at home. Not only is the pipeline’s construction good for our economy, but it helps move us closer to our goal of achieving North American energy independence right here, right now.”
  • Senator Hagan (D-NC): “I encourage President Obama to quickly approve the Keystone XL Pipeline that will create thousands of American jobs while providing energy security for our country.”

So it looks like the only one who thinks that a pipeline running across the United States bringing resources that will lead to North American energy security isn’t a job creator is Steyer himself.

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