An oil pipeline stretching from Canada through the U.S. Plains states to the Gulf Coast could create 20,000 jobs during the two-year construction phase if approved by the Obama administration, the American Petroleum Institute said Aug. 18.
API joined the Teamsters Union during a teleconference to call for swift action by the U.S. State Department to approve the 2,000-mile Keystone XL pipeline that would transport crude oil from Canada's oil stands to the United States.
The project has been delayed for nearly three years as officials examine the pipeline's potential environmental impacts.
Environmentalists argue oil sands production results in higher greenhouse-gas emissions than traditional crude oil.
An environmental group called Tar Sands Action has planned a rally in front of the White House Sept. 3 to protest against the oil sands project, which the group calls "the largest carbon bomb in North America."
The State Department is expected to issue its final environmental review of the pipeline project before the end of this month followed by a 90-day review period.
On July 26, the House of Representatives voted 279-147 in favor of a bill that would force the State Department to decide on a permit for the pipeline by Nov. 1.
The majority of the jobs created will be union jobs, says James Kimball, chief economist with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
The project would increase Teamsters pipeline employment in the United States by approximately 40%, Kimball says.
Another quarter of a million jobs could be created to support pipeline activities, Kimball says.
For every two jobs the oil sands creates in Canada, an additional job is created in the United States because of the countries' proximity to each other and their trade relationship, says Cindy Schild, API refining issues manager.
A Siemens plant in Norwood, Ohio, has already benefited from pipeline activity, says the plant's operations manager Keith Lang.
The plant produces motors used to transfer oil through the pipeline. Pipeline activity allowed the Siemens facility to retain 50 jobs during the economic downturn and would result in an additional 25 to 30 jobs if the project is approved.