Alberta Premier Alison Redford rejected a claim President Obama made last month that the Keystone XL pipeline will create few jobs and little economic benefit for the U.S. during a speech at the Brookings Institution on Tuesday.
“This is not short term, and this isn’t isolated. This is about, really, a ripple effect on the economy,” she said.
Keystone is estimated to bring billions of dollars to the U.S. economy and create as many as 75,000 direct and indirect jobs for U.S. workers long-term, Redford said.
She addressed the discrepancy between her numbers and those released by the State Department, which estimates the pipeline will create fewer than 4,000 direct jobs and about 42,000 total direct and indirect jobs during the two-year construction phase. Redford said the difference is that her numbers include construction, people working at refineries, those working in control rooms to operate the pipeline, as well as long-term indirect jobs.
In Alberta, one in six jobs is related to the energy industry, she said.
Redford also made it clear Canada will go ahead on Keystone regardless of the Obama administration’s decision on the pipeline, but reaffirmed her desire to partner with the U.S. on the project.
“We know that the world is thirsty for our energy,” she said, “but it’s Keystone that offers the U.S. the most direct and the most tangible rewards.”
President Obama told a group of House Republicans in March that the benefits of Keystone to the U.S. economy have been exaggerated.
“He said there were no permanent jobs, and that the oil will be put on ships and exported and that the only ones who are going to get wealthy are the Canadians,” Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., told the Associated Press at the time.