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March 27, 2017

The Keystone Pipeline: A Look At Its Impact On The Economy And The Environment

Last Friday morning, the U.S. State Department announced that it had granted the presidential permit necessary for the completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Opponents of the pipeline are expected to challenge the decision in federal court. The announcement comes more than eight years after TransCanada first filed an application for the project. 

According to the U.S. State Department’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the pipeline will be good for the U.S. economy and the U.S. environment. According to the EIS, the project will:

  • Create 42,100 direct, indirect, and induced jobs;
  • Result in $405 million in employee earnings in Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska during the project’s two-year construction period and $1.6 billion in earnings in other states;
  • Spur more than $3.1 billion in spending on construction contracts, materials, and other support activities for the project;
  • Generate more than $66 million in total sales and use tax revenue from goods and services used during construction phase and $55.6 million in property tax revenue spread across 27 counties with Keystone facilities;
  • Deliver 830,000 barrels of North American crude oil per day to Gulf refineries; and
  • Contribute $3.4 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product.

The State Department also found that greenhouse gas emissions would be 28 to 42 percent higher without the pipeline. The Metals Service Center Institute strongly supports pipeline construction, in part because pipelines are one of the safest ways to transport oil. The Chicago Tribune noted this fact in an editorial Friday supporting the Keystone pipeline. The Tribune’s editorial board wrote, “Pipelines are generally the safest and most efficient way to move oil. Until such time as it's no longer needed for the functioning of the U.S. and world economies, they ought to have priority.”