Trump’s address to Congress was riddled with falsehoods about the energy industry
No, the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines won’t create “tens of thousands of jobs.”
Ryan Koronowski, Research Director at ThinkProgress March 1, 2017
During his first joint address to Congress as president, Donald Trump did not linger on energy or the environment, but offered up falsehoods about the coal industry and tar sands oil pipelines. He also completely ignored the clean energy industry.
First, Trump returned to a familiar theme of his: saving the coal industry. He extolled his administration’s “historic effort” to cut regulations — specifically “stopping a regulation that threatens the future and livelihoods of our great coal miners.”
That was a reference to the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule. On February 16, Trump signed a bill eliminating the rule, which protected waterways, largly in Appalachia, from coal mining waste. The rule would reportedly have created the same number of jobs it would have cost.
Furthermore coal jobs actually rose in the last half of 2016, proving yet again that the health of the industry has more to do with market factors than a regulatory “war on coal.”
(Taylor Kuykendall @taykuy February 24, 2017, Coal jobs went on an upswing in last quarter of 2016 has production began to surge:)
After the election, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) admitted that ending the “war on coal” may not actually bring back jobs. Energy experts largely agree that coal jobs are not coming back as long as fracked gas and renewable energy both remain cheap.
Trump’s addressed energy one more time — ignoring the millions of jobs created by the clean energy industry — when he touted his attention to two stalled oil pipelines.
“We have cleared the way for the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines — thereby creating tens of thousands of jobs — and I’ve issued a new directive that new American pipelines be made with American steel,” he said.
First off, Trump’s directive that the pipeline be made with American steel is likely to have little effect, because the American steel industry is not equipped to meet the project’s requirements, and because the pipeline segments have for the most part already been purchased and constructed. What’s more, an investigation by DeSmogBlog found that a steel company with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin stands to gain should the project move forward.
Trump’s claim that the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines would create tens of thousands of jobs is false, but it’s not new. The industry, and the company that wants to build the pipeline, has been using numbers like this for years. Yet the State Department found in 2013 that the Keystone XL pipeline would create only 35 permanent jobs, and 16,000 direct and indirect jobs that would not last far beyond the construction phase.
It would, however, pump oil equal to the carbon emissions of 51 coal plants every year. Similarly, the Dakota Access pipeline will create only 40 permanent jobs along the entire line when all is said and done.
Later in the speech, Trump attempted a note of bipartisanship, saying his administration wanted to work with members “in both parties” on childcare affordability, paid family leave, and “to promote clean air and clear water.”
Trump has yet to propose any action to promote cleaner air or water. Earlier on Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order aimed at dismantling the Obama administration’s Clean Water Rule. He also reportedly wants to cut $2 billion from the already-underfunded Environmental Protection Agency, much of which is largely focused on cleaning the air Americans breathe.
Trump gets ahead of himself with boast of creating tens of thousands of pipeline jobs
Evan Halper, reporting from Washington February 28, 2017
President Trump boasted Tuesday night that he has created “tens of thousands of jobs” by clearing the way for construction of two major oil pipelines.
That’s not necessarily true.
The bulk of those temporary, two-year jobs – 42,000 of them — would come from a project that may never get built, the Keystone XL pipeline. Despite Trump’s best efforts to move the project forward, there are serious questions about whether the economics pencil out for the plan to ship oil from the tar sands of Canada to Gulf Coast refineries. The project was conceived at a time analysts predicted that oil prices would be considerably higher than they are now. Amid the cheap barrels of crude flooding the market, investors are rethinking whether it is worth the expense of extracting and shipping the oil from the Alberta tar sands, a very costly endeavor.
And Trump’s own demand that the pipeline be built with American steel drives the cost up substantially.
That leaves the Dakota Access Pipeline project, which Trump has also moved to revive. Its prospects for completion are brighter. But it won’t create tens of thousands of jobs. It would create 3,900 short-term construction jobs and, according to the developer, roughly 12,000 indirect jobs for businesses in the region that will see a temporary boost in income while the project is in process.
Trump’s critics also point out that his analysis fails to account for the clean-energy jobs that don’t get created when more oil flows into the market.
“He repeated the same tired lies about creating jobs with Keystone XL and Dakota Access, but said nothing about the millions of jobs that could be created by a transition to 100% renewable energy,” said a statement from May Boeve, executive director of 350.org.