The United States has two and a half million miles of oil pipelines. They have been the center of debate for a number of years. The debate surrounding oil pipelines has been heating up for the past couple of years, due to the amount of media and political attention surrounding it. The pipelines have been set in controversy because of their long-term effects on our planet and economy.
Oil pipelines will create jobs, are depend source of economic growth and relations with other countries, and give the United States independence from foreign oil companies. Despite the efforts put forth by the Obama Administration, President Trump has signed multiple executive orders to continue the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline and The Keystone XL (Hardy). Trump wanted to speed up the environmental review that the Obama Administration ordered and ultimately put a halt to the pipeline. The project is set to carry crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois (Hardy.) However, members of Standing Rock and other Sioux nations, which are Native American tribes, began occupying land in North Dakota in April as a peaceful protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline (Hardy). They were quickly joined by more than three hundred Native American tribes and thousands of environmentalists from across the world. While campers once swelled to as many as ten thousand, their numbers thinned out considerably in December as North Dakota’s fierce winter took hold and the pipeline work was halted (Hardy). One of the most important ways in which the Keystone Pipeline will impact the economy is through job creation.
This is both in terms of the construction and maintenance of the pipeline, as well as the companies and businesses that will need to hire new employees in order to keep up with the development the pipeline causes (STI Group). TransCanada estimates that the Keystone XL pipeline will create fifteen thousand new construction and manufacturing jobs, nine thousand American jobs to build the Keystone XL Pipeline and seven thousand American jobs to manufacture the steel pipe needed to build the pipeline (STI Group). “The numbers of jobs created become even higher when considering the total estimated jobs created by the year 2035.
The Canadian Energy Research Institute places the number at about one hundred seventeen thousand jobs. However, the American Petroleum Institute gives an even more optimistic estimate of up to five hundred thousand jobs” (American Petroleum Institute). Under President Trump’s executive order to advance the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, it invites TransCanada to resubmit an application, in which TransCanada responded the same day, thanking the President. The arguments in favor of the pipeline, many of which President Trump has attempted to sell, include increased energy security, government revenue, and jobs. Construction of the pipeline would require thousands of short-term construction and related service jobs (Wald). These jobs would most likely number fewer than ten thousand and would only last a short time, and an even shorter time in any single location. The long-term operation and maintenance of the pipeline would not create a meaningful number of jobs because pipelines are simple to maintain once built (Wald).
However, the pipeline would send more products to be handled and refined in the Gulf region, increasing employment there to some extent, and it may increase investment in oil producing regions in the United States and Canada. The pipeline would also enhance state revenues and long-term economic development in the Gulf Coast region (Wald). The short-term economic growth from traveling construction crews would benefit local businesses and would look too quick to create a boomtown negative. Building the pipeline could be the first step in improving energy security for North America. The pipeline would demonstrate cooperation and goodwill to Canada as the Trump Administration also reconsiders NAFTA (Wald). On the contrary, others state that once The Keystone XL is completed, only about thirty-five permanent employees would be needed to operate the pipeline along with fifteen temporary contractors. The Keystone XL isn’t expected to be a boom for the job market by any stretch. In addition, the temporary and limited permanent jobs could come at a significant environmental cost.
The Canadian oil that would flow through the pipeline is considered among the dirtiest types of crude oil in the world. A 2015 study done by the Department of Energy, found that the oil sands from Canada put out eighteen percent more greenhouse gases when processed into gas than that processed from traditional United States crude, and diesel fuel that comes from oil sands puts out twenty-one percent more of these harmful gases. “The dirty and dangerous Keystone XL pipeline is one of the worst deals imaginable for the American people, so of course Donald Trump supports it,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said in a statement (CNNMoney). The Keystone XL will bring in millions of dollars in economic growth for North America, including more than three billion towards United States Gross Domestic Product.
It will also create bigger property tax revenues paid by the project, which will greatly the towns and counties the pipeline passes through (TransCanada). The Nebraska Department of Environment and Quality showed that in Nebraska alone, the project would create approximately twelve million dollars in property taxes each year. This means millions of dollars flowing into county budgets helping to keep property taxes down and fund public projects such as roads, bridges, and libraries (TransCanada). If the United States government gives TransCanada the go-ahead, the Keystone XL pipeline will give another boost to the United States-Canada trade relations. Canada is the largest United States trading partner, and oil and gas accounted for more than a third of the $316.
5 billion of United States imports from Canada in 2011 (TransCanada). The oil in TransCanada’s existing Keystone and proposed Keystone XL lines alone could outstrip the value of all U.S. imports from Brazil and, depending on the price, equal those imports from France or Taiwan. The United States is a natural destination for that oil. “The best market is the one right next to us demanding 10 million barrels of oil every day,” TransCanada chief executive Russ Girling said. “It makes no sense having tankers moving to the U.S.
from Europe and the Middle East and tankers going to Asia from America.” (Mufson). The United States imported 4 million barrels of oil a day from “dangerous or unstable” countries in 2008 at a cost of about one hundred fifty billion dollars. This estimate excludes Venezuela, which is not on the State Department’s “dangerous or unstable” list but has maintained a distinctly anti-American foreign and energy policy. Venezuela is one of the top five oil exporters to the United States, and the United States imported four hundred thirty-five million barrels of oil from them in 2008. “As a major contributor to the global demand for oil the United States is paying to finance and sustain unfriendly regimes.
The United States’ demand for oil drives up prices on the global market, which oftentimes benefits oil-producing nations that don’t sell to the United States” (Center for American Progress). In conclusion, oil pipelines in the United States, specifically that Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipeline, are essential to the growth and future of the United States. The United States gaining energy independence makes the country safer, and less dependent on countries that the United States are not friendly with. The pipelines will also help lower gas prices, as a result of energy independence. Because The United States is transporting its own oil, and not importing it at high prices, the price the consumer will naturally go down. These pipelines will also help create jobs and help the United States economy. The jobs that the pipelines create will help local and federal economies.
The Gross Domestic Product will be helped immensely and the jobs created in the Midwest will help bring life to the area, that is suffering, with all the blue-collar workers out of a job. The United States’ dependence on foreign oil can be prevented and stopped from these pipelines, and bring jobs and money back to the United States.