Is President Obama Right About The Pipeline?
President Obama is getting largely mixed reviews for his most recent decision to nix (at least for now, that is) construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would link oil from Alberta, Canada to oil refineries just off the Gulf of Mexico.
The pipeline is a $7 billion dollar project which would is widely believed to have tremendous job-creating potential, to the tune of 20,000. Instead of handling such a proposal in a more straightforward manner, House Republicans embedded a legislative ultimatum in the payroll tax cut extension passed late last year: either permit the project or explain to the American people why you have chosen not to do so by February 21.
In response, the president chose to reject the plan, citing the fact that the State Department has not had enough time to review the environmental impact of the project, which would run oil underneath America’s heartland (meaning a spill could have an adverse effect on farming revenues and food costs).
It seemed to be more of a political problem than a problem with the plan itself according to the White House, but it turns out they released a report which unearthed more reasons for the rejection.
Among them, the estimated job creation from the project is severely overstated. Some have said the pipeline will provide some 20,000 jobs; turns out it would only directly create 5,000-6,000 and those would only last for the two years it will take to build the pipeline (estimates may have included jobs that would have been created indirectly, but it is difficult to say how much employees at such jobs would bring in and for how long).
It also turns out that the overall amount of oil the country stands to gain from the project is not as much as it may seem, according to the report. Furthermore, as far as economic impact is concerned, there is a need for an alternative route as the current one could put the Ogallala Aquifer (main source of water in Nebraska) in jeopardy. Some heard that argument and thought the prez should have accepted the proposal while figuring out a new route.
With all of these variables, is it really the right decision to go on building the pipeline? Yes, it would temporarily create thousands of jobs, but it could also hurt many already struggling farmers in our country if we are not careful.
After all, he has not permanently killed the project, and seemed to hint at revisiting it. Papers have already been re-filed for the permit so that construction can begin in 2016.
Source: ABC News