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No Laughing Matter: Obama Derides The Keystone Pipeline

- July 29, 2013

In An Interview With The New York Times, Obama Joked About The Potential Job Creation From The Keystone XL Pipeline. THE NEW YORK TIMES: "A couple other quick subjects that are economic-related. Keystone pipeline -- Republicans especially talk about that as a big job creator. You've said that you would approve it only if you could be assured it would not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon in the atmosphere. Is there anything that Canada could do or the oil companies could do to offset that as a way of helping you to reach that decision?" PRESIDENT OBAMA: "Well, first of all, Michael, Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator. There is no evidence that that's true. And my hope would be that any reporter who is looking at the facts would take the time to confirm 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 -- and then after that we're talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 [chuckles] jobs in a economy of 150 million working people." (Jackie Calmes and Michael Shear, "Interview With President Obama," The New York Times , 7/27/13)

  • Obama Derided The Thousands Of American Jobs That Keystone Will Create As A "Blip." NYT: "Yet there are a number of unions who want you to approve this." OBAMA: "Well, look, they might like to see 2,000 jobs initially. But that is a blip relative to the need. So what we also know is, is that that oil is going to be piped down to the Gulf to be sold on the world oil markets, so it does not bring down gas prices here in the United States. In fact, it might actually cause some gas prices in the Midwest to go up where currently they can't ship some of that oil to world markets. Now, having said that, there is a potential benefit for us integrating further with a reliable ally to the north our energy supplies. But I meant what I said; I'm going to evaluate this based on whether or not this is going to significantly contribute to carbon in our atmosphere. And there is no doubt that Canada at the source in those tar sands could potentially be doing more to mitigate carbon release." NYT: "And if they did, could that offset the concerns about the pipeline itself?" OBAMA: "We haven't seen specific ideas or plans. But all of that will go into the mix in terms of John Kerry's decision or recommendation on this issue." (Jackie Calmes and Michael Shear, "Interview With President Obama," The New York Times , 7/27/13)

According To The State Department, The Keystone Pipeline Would Help Support Tens Of Thousands Of Jobs. "Including direct, indirect, and induced effects, the proposed Project would potentially support approximately 42,100 average annual jobs across the United States over a 1-to 2-year construction period (of which, approximately 3,900 would be directly employed in construction activities). This employment would potentially translate to approximately $2.05 billion in earnings. ("Keystone XL Project Draft Supplemental EIS Executive Summary," United States Department of State, 3/13, p.14)


In March, 17 Senate Democrats Voted To Approve The Keystone Pipeline. "The Senate on Friday voted 62-37 to approve the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline in an amendment to Senate budget. … All Republicans voted in favor. The Democrats who supported the measure were Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Tom Carper (Del.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Chris Coons (Del.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W. Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Mark Warner (Va.)." (Zack Coleman, "Keystone XL Picks Up Senate Backing," The Hill, 3/22/13)

  • Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT): "Enough Analysis: It's Time To Put Montanans To Work On Keystone." "Enough analysis: it's time to put Montanans to work on Keystone. Four and a half years after the Keystone pipeline was first proposed, we need the jobs and the energy independence it provides more than ever." (Sen. Max Baucus, Press Release, 4/16/13)
  • Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA): Keystone Will "Create Thousands Of Jobs And Inject Billions Of Dollars Into Our Economy." "It is time for the President to look anew at this project and approve it for the benefit of the country. Not only will it create thousands of jobs and inject billions of dollars into our economy, it will strengthen our energy security by allowing us to import more oil from our trusted friend and ally Canada, instead of from Venezuela or nations in the Middle East … For decades, Louisiana has proudly refined oil from onshore, offshore and from overseas - we are eager to see the Keystone Pipeline approved so we can start refining more oil from Canada." (Sen. Mary Landrieu, Press Release, 1/23/13)

66 Percent Of Americans Favor The Keystone XL Pipeline, While Just 23 Percent Oppose It. "As the Obama administration approaches a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, a national survey finds broad public support for the project. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) favor building the pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada's oil sands region through the Midwest to refineries in Texas. Just 23% oppose construction of the pipeline." ("Keystone XL Pipeline Draws Broad Support," Pew Research Center, 4/2/13)

  • "Support For The Pipeline Spans Most Demographic And Partisan Groups. Substantial Majorities Of Republicans (82%) And Independents (70%) Favor Building The Keystone XL Pipeline, As Do 54% Of Democrats." ("Keystone XL Pipeline Draws Broad Support," Pew Research Center, 4/2/13)

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