So what exactly is the Keystone XL Pipeline, and what affect does it have, or will have, on Montana? Let’s look at the following points:
- Physical Attributes
- Energy Utilization
- Short-Term Job Creation
- Long-Term Job Creation
Lots of stuff, huh? Let’s get going.
It crosses over in Morgan, Montana, and heads through the state on a generally southeasterly route toward the Bakken oil fields at Baker.
Here oil that’s currently being produced in Montana can be loaded onto the pipeline for shipment south.
The pipeline has the capacity to transport 830,000 barrels of oil per day through pipes that are 36 inches thick. In contrast, the Trans-Alaska pipes that are already constructed are 48 inches thick.
Before the current Trans-Alaska pipeline was built it was estimated to cost $900 million. Unfortunately that guess was wildly off and the pipeline actually cost $8 billion to construct over 3 years and 2 months.
TransCanada, the company proposing the Keystone XL Pipeline, already owns the main pipeline that runs from sections of Canada and through areas of America. As they're no doubt shouldering most of the construction costs, I hope they’ll do the same for any clean up costs.
I know a lot about this because I advertise my eBooks. Sometimes I’ll spend $50 and only make $10 in sales.
The Alberta Oil Sands are much the same way in that it could take as much as three barrels of oil to get just one usable barrel of oil out of the ground.
There’s a lot of Keystone XL websites that give you a lot of doom and gloom scenarios, but I think just the sheer uselessness of taking that oil out really makes it not worthwhile.
That barrel of oil sounds real good to someone in their 50s or 60s, but to me in my 30s? I know it’s going to give me an unprecedented amount of headaches when I’m that age.
Largely this will be through the shifting weather patterns that lead to massive worldwide crop failures and huge population shifts and movements around the world.
When people can’t eat they can’t work and I just don’t see how anything will be getting done globally with unemployment rates of 50% to 60%, or more.
That’s the legacy projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline leave for future generations, the generations that will be here long after those who built the damn thing are gone and that carbon long ago burned up into the atmosphere.
Short-Term Job Creation
A more realistic estimate of the short-term jobs created because of the pipeline is around 10,000. There have been many studies on the short-term jobs, nearly all of them construction, that will be created if the pipeline is built, some dating back to 2010 or earlier.
Trans-Canada did a study in January of that year which put the jobs at 13,000. It went up a bit the next near, then down to 9,000 by April, 2012. Cornell University then did a study that put the number around 4,500 at the high. The feds did their own study which said 6,500 jobs could be created.
See, what happens when we put down basic infrastructure and social services in those areas? People are going to live there.
We know after a year there won’t be any work for them, but now they’re living there – how do you tell them to move? So will this become a drain on the state’s resources instead of a benefit?
It’s hard to say, but I’m sure we’ll see a large uptick in unemployment and crime in those areas where the pipeline was built, and for some time after its completion.
Long-Term Job Creation
The State Department estimates 35 jobs will be created while other estimates go as high as 50. And that covers Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas. If you want to divide it up like that Montana might get 12 permanent jobs out of this project.
I do see permanent jobs being produced when there’s a spill or other incident involving the heavy truck traffic on those undeveloped or underdeveloped roads.
Eventually something’s going to happen and those 36-inch pipes are going to leak. Clean up could take months or years depending on how long it takes to stop it, or even notice it.
We’ve seen how fast or slow companies can respond, and also how quickly they and the media forget about these things. Even after those tar sands in Canada go dry there could be lingering environmental effects because of this.
Of course no one knows that for a fact, and the truth is there could be no incidents or accidents. But just having the pipeline there does open up that possibility, one that could be quite costly in more ways than one.