Thursday, November 20th
KEYSTONE PIPELINE-LOUISIANA’S ECONOMIC SAVIOR?
Almost overnight, the approval of the Keystone pipeline has
become a key issue in Louisiana’s cantankerous senatorial runoff campaign.
Incumbent Mary Landrieu is leading the charge
in the U.S. Senate, while challenger Dr. Bill Cassidy is trying to one up
Landrieu by being the Keystone champion in the House of Representatives.
So two questions.
Where have both of these candidates been with
such an important issue all these many months?
And is building the pipeline the huge job creator and economic bonanza
that both candidates say it is?
For those readers who have been out of the loop as to what Keystone
is all about, here’s a short summery.
Canada is proposing the building of a pipeline some 875 miles from up in
Western Canada down to Nebraska, where it would then tie in to other U.S.
More than 830,000 barrels of
oil a day would then flow down to the Gulf Coast for refining and exportation. But
the U.S. must give approval, since the pipeline crosses international boarders.
Sounds pretty good so far.
Those opposing the project fear major environmental damage, as the
pipeline is being built and maintained.
Not so, I say.
Louisiana is crisscrossed by over 10,000 miles of pipeline with only minor
I’m not talking
about damages that have destroyed large portions of marshlands by drilling for
oil and gas.
These are the buried
pipelines that take refined petroleum up to the east coast.
Right now, a large number of petroleum products are
transported to the Midwest and West Coast by rail and truck.
There is probably more ecological risk with
land transpiration than with pipelines. Environmentally, I just don’t see that
great a risk.
So if there is little
downside, what’s the upside according to our two Louisiana politicians,
fighting tooth and nail for the U.S. Senate seat, and who are filling the
airwaves with the message that Keystone is critical to Louisiana’s economic
Landrieu says more than 44,000 jobs will flow into Louisiana
if Keystone is built.
Not to be one
upped, Cassidy doubles the among of jobs that will be created, and adds
assertions that gasoline prices will drop at the pump with more oil that can be
refined on the Gulf Coast. So is there any validity to these claims from the
Landrieu and Cassidy camps?
None! Zero! Nil! Zip! Zilch! It’s
all political hogwash from both candidates.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported this year on an eleven-volume
report prepared by the State Department that concludes the Keystone Pipeline would
create (are you ready) 35
jobs and not a single one in Louisiana.
So the claims of thousands of jobs flooding
into the Bayou State, as both candidates contend, are nothing more than a
How about their claims that all this new Canadian oil will
actually lower the price of a gallon of gas?
Again, not true. What few realize is that Canadian oil, called tar sands
crude, is already being imported into the United States, primarily by rail in
tank cars, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration
at a rate of more than 3 million barrels a day.
This Canadian oil is being processed in Midwestern refineries, the
largest being the Flint Hills refinery in Pine Bend, Minnesota, owned by the
Numerous other refineries
are spread from Minnesota across the west to Montana.
Most of this Midwestern oil is presently sold to U.S.
So the more oil we keep here
in the U.S., the lower the price at the pump.
Where will the Keystone oil go?
To Texas, to be refined and shipped overseas. That means less oil in the
U.S., and a higher price to U.S. consumers.
The bottom line is this.
The Keystone pipeline, if approved, will have no bearing on jobs or
economic development in Louisiana. It might even cause the price Louisiana
consumers pay at the pump to go up.
Telling those of us living down here in the Bayou State any differently
is just more political smoke and mirrors.
If congress wants to approve the project to land a few more jobs in
Texas, so be it. But in Louisiana, how about more straight talk and less
election distortions and gibberish?
“I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will
stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them.”
Jim Brown’s syndicated column
appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites
worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates
at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio
show each Sunday morning from 9 am till 11:00 am, central time, on the Genesis
Radio Network, with a live stream at http://www.jimbrownusa.com.