2014 US Trucking News – Keystone Pipeline and More Trucker Jobs?
The President and CEO of TransCanada, Russ Girling, publicized the positive impact of the Keystone Pipeline project by putting 20,000 US workers to work, as well as spending $7 billion stimulating the US economy. These numbers come from a 2010 report written by The Perryman Group, a financial analysis firm based in Texas that was hired by TransCanada to evaluate Keystone XL. The numbers in the Perryman Group report have been disputed by an independent study conducted by the Cornell ILR Global Labor Institute, which found that while the Keystone XL would result in 2,500 to 4,650 temporary construction jobs, this impact will be reduced by higher oil prices in the Midwest, which will likely reduce national employment. However, it will also increase gasoline availability to the Northeast and expand the Gulf refining industry. The State Department estimates that the pipeline would create around 5,000 to 6,000 temporary jobs in the United States during its two-year construction period.
On January 27 2012, Phil Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace, appealed to the Securities and Exchange Commission to review TransCanada’s claims that the Keystone Pipeline would create 20,000 jobs. Stating that the company had consistently used false public statements and info in a concerted effort to secure permitting approval of the pipeline, Radford argued that TransCanada had misled investors, US and Canadian officials, the media, and the public in order to bolster its balance sheets and share price.
On July 2013, President Barack Obama stated that the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline, which might take a year or two, then after that, around 50 and 100 jobs in an economy of 150 million working people. The estimate of 2,000 during construction came under heavy attack, while the long-term, permanent job estimates did not receive any criticism. The Associated Press also noted that it was quite unclear where President Obama’s figure of 2,000 jobs came from. The US State Department’s Preliminary Supplemental Environment Impact Statement, issued in March 2013, estimated 3,900 direct jobs and 42,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction.
There might be unintended economic consequence to the construction of Keystone XL. For example, the additional north-south crude oil transport capacity brought by Keystone XL will increase the price the oil sands producers receive for their oil. These higher revenues will have a positive effect on the development of the industry in Alberta. In return, due to the Petrodollar nature of the Canadian currency, these same additional revenues will strengthen the Canadian dollar, versus the United States dollar. Based on historical trends, the stronger Canadian dollar will result in a reduction of the competitiveness of Canada’s manufacturing industry and could lead to the loss of 50,000 to 100,000 jobs in Canada’s manufacturing sector. Many of these jobs, such as the ones found in the auto industry, will most likely find their way down south and have a positive blow on manufacturing employment in the United States.