Tags: Keystone XL Pipeline | John Barrasso | Chuck Schumer

WaPo: 2 Pinocchios for Sen. Barrasso on Keystone Jobs Numbers

Image: WaPo: 2 Pinocchios for Sen. Barrasso on Keystone Jobs Numbers
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Tuesday, 06 Jan 2015 11:40 AM

Republican Sen. John Barrasso has been given two Pinocchios by The Washington Post’s Fact Checker for claiming that the Keystone XL oil pipeline will create 42,000 new jobs.

The Wyoming senator made his comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press” over the weekend while using what was called a “misleading” State Department report as his source for the reason that the pipeline should be built.

“It’s going to be a bellwether decision by the president whether to go with jobs and the economy,” Barrasso said. “His own State Department said it’s 42,000 new jobs — this is a good infrastructure project to support it widely across the United States.”

New York Sen. Charles Schumer, on the other hand, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the pipeline would create “several thousand temporary construction jobs and only 35 permanent ones.”

President Barack Obama has fueled the controversy over whether the economy will receive a boost from the pipeline by saying incorrectly that “maybe 2,000 jobs” would result from Keystone, the Post reported.

The Senate, now controlled by the GOP, plans to vote on a Keystone XL bill as soon as possible, though the president may veto the legislation due to environmental concerns.  The House is expected to vote Friday on its own bill authorizing construction of the pipeline.

Fact Checker’s Glenn Kessler decided to investigate the number of actual jobs that could be created by the pipeline, which would carry heavy crude oil from Canada’s Alberta province to the Gulf Coast.

Barrasso’s figure of “42,000 jobs” stems from the State Department report that $3.3 million would be spent on overall construction contracts and materials, including about $200 million on construction camps, Kessler reported.

The money would trickle down into the U.S. economy, especially in the states with the construction, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, with about 16,000 jobs resulting from “direct spending.”

The State Department, however, expressed all jobs as an annual figure even though many of them would only last a few months, including nearly 4,000 construction jobs, according to Fact Checker.

“The other 26,000 jobs are even more fuzzy — what are termed 'indirect and induced spending,' ” Kessler wrote. “Some of that could be goods and services purchased by contractors, but it also means spending by employees working for a supplier of goods and services.

“That’s why the State Department report carefully says the spending during the construction period ‘would support a combined total of approximately 42,100 average annual jobs.’

“It’s not really ‘42,000 new jobs,’ as Barrasso expressed it. In fact, as we noted, some of those jobs have already been completed in anticipation of the project.”

Kessler noted that Schumer sticks close to “the essence of the report” by saying that the pipeline would add thousands of temporary construction jobs, but he went too far by adding that it would only add “35 permanent jobs.”

“Using the State Department math, it’s safe to say nearly 4,000 construction jobs will be created, at least temporarily,” Kessler wrote. “One could even say that 16,000 jobs would be or have been supported from direct spending on the project. But ‘42,000 new jobs’ is going too far.

“Most of those jobs are far from the construction side, and it’s hard to argue they are new. Moreover, under State’s accounting, they only last for a year. For some workers, it would be a good but brief payday. In the context of the U.S. economy, the impact is barely a ripple.”

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Republican Sen. John Barrasso has been given two Pinocchios by The Washington Post’s Fact Checker for claiming that the Keystone XL oil pipeline will create 42,000 new jobs.
John Barrasso, Chuck Schumer
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2015-40-06
Tuesday, 06 Jan 2015 11:40 AM
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