Economic benefits: Brent Thompson, Executive Director of the Cushing Chamber of Commerce, explains how the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project is benefitting his Oklahoma community.
Keystone XL has recently been the subject of a vigorous debate about the number of jobs the project will generate during its construction. There have been many guesses, studies and estimates thrown around over the last five years and these have often muddied the debate about the economic impacts of a project such as Keystone XL. At TransCanada we are able to build plans – and can show, right down to a single job, how many workers it will take to build a project — because we’ve been building pipelines for more than 60 years.
We have always maintained that Keystone XL will directly employ 9,000 American workers. The southern portion of KXL — the Gulf Coast Pipeline — is nearing completion and has already directly employed about 4,000 American workers. And combined, these two projects have directly supported about 7,000 American manufacturing jobs from laborers, in the Siemens factory in Ohio, who build the pumps for pipeline pump stations, to steel workers, in Arkansas, who manufactured the steel used in the Gulf Coast and Keystone XL pipelines. That’s 20,000 jobs that can be directly linked to this pipeline, a new, modern and critical piece of America’s energy infrastructure.
TransCanada has negotiated binding Project Labor Agreements with a number of leading North American unions. These agreements are contracts — binding agreements — that outline the number of workers we need and the number of workers, training and skill development programs that these unions will provide. These same unions helped provide some of the workers who built the original Keystone Pipeline.
Unions are not in the habit of negotiating meaningless agreements with inflated numbers with companies; they work hard for their members to secure agreements that will provide them with meaningful opportunities. It is widely understood that people in the construction industry go from job site to job site. That is how they get their health and retirement benefits — by getting enough qualifying hours through different projects in a profession they have chosen.
We know that the spinoff economic activity from infrastructure projects such as Keystone XL Pipeline and the Gulf Coast Pipeline is sometimes difficult to quantify. The State Department estimates that Keystone XL will create 42,000 direct and indirect jobs and inject $20 billion dollars into the U.S. economy.
In fact, the spinoff activity from Canadian oil sands projects is expected to reach $45 billion dollars per year while supporting nearly 465,000 jobs in the United States by 2035.
Add to that, the United States receives 89 cents back from every dollar spent on Canadian goods and services compared to 29 cents on every dollar from Venezuela and the Middle East; the benefits of Keystone XL become even more compelling.
We believe that for many people, talking about economic impact isn’t enough, and seeing is believing. And for businesses in communities such as Prague, Okla., the economic benefits from the Gulf Coast Project are very real. It is not just those building pipelines who benefit, just ask Jeremy Kunk, in Southeast Texas. Kunk’s Read Ice Company in Kountze has been keeping pipeline workers cool through hot summer months of construction.
Many communities are also beneficiaries of pipelines and pipeline construction. Cushing, Okla., (see video above), appreciates the tax revenue and other benefits that come with a multi-billion dollar pipeline project.