The Keystone XL pipeline would not have a big impact on America’s long-term employment, the Obama administration said in a report submitted to Congress on Wednesday evening after the president announced earlier in the day that he was rejecting a permit for the project.
“The construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would likely create several thousand temporary jobs associated with construction; however, the project would not have a significant impact on long-term employment in the United States,” the report states. "While some reports have suggested there could be 100,000 direct and indirect jobs created by the pipeline, this inflated number appears to be a misinterpretation of one of the economic analyses prepared on the pipeline."
The provision Republicans included as part of the payroll-tax bill Obama signed into law last month required the president to make a decision by Feb. 21 on the pipeline that would carry 700,000 barrels of oil from Alberta’s carbon-heavy oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries. The law also required the president to send a report within 15 days to Congress explaining why he denied the permit.
The fact that the White House sent the five-page report to Congress on Wednesday evening—just hours after announcing the decision to reject it—suggests the administration wants to wash its hands of the issue as quickly as possible before the State of the Union next Tuesday and as early in the campaign season as possible.
The White House report also states that the pipeline would not make a big difference in the amount of crude oil refined at American refineries or exported from those refineries, or substantially increase the amount of oil imported from Canada, already America’s biggest foreign source of oil.