Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Letters to the Editor

April 21, 2011

How many jobs will the Tar Sands pipeline really bring to East Texas?

JACKSONVILLE — TransCanada makes some pretty tall claims about what an economic boon their proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will bring to the states along its route, from Alberta, Ontario, down through the midwest, to Oklahoma, and finally, Texas.  That’s 1,660 miles of pipeline.

Here are some figures calculated in a study commissioned by TransCanada:

Total number of jobs projected for all states over the three-year period of pipeline construction: 118,935

Total number of jobs in Texas alone: 50,365

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?  However, the United States Department of State did its own analysis, which comes to a vastly different conclusion:

Total number of jobs, all states: 5,003 - 8,307

Total number for Texas: 1,555 - 2,527

The DOS concludes, “For all the workers employed to build a pipeline, pump stations, and tank farms, only about 10 - 15% would be hired by local labor markets.”  That percentage translates into somewhere between 156 and 379 jobs in Texas.  And remember, these jobs are temporary.

As residents of Cherokee County, I believe we need to ask ourselves if we are willing to let a foreign company come into our state and  seize our property rights in order to transport a product  that is completely different from our sweet Texas crude, and is potentially hazardous to our health, our environment, our wildlife and our water supply, through a grade of pipe that has already proven inadequate to withstand its highly corrosive composition.

We are all aware of the risk of oil spills. But conventional crude rises to the top and can at least be skimmed off the water’s surface.  Tar sands crude is heavier than water, and will sink down to the water table in a very short period of time.

Do we really want this pipeline crossing our lakes, streams and aquifers?

As a final insult, the tar sands crude that is shipped down to the Gulf Coast refineries is ultimately to be sold on the open commodity market, and there is no guarantee that, for all the risk,  Texas, or any other part of the United States will reap any benefit from it.

Don’t believe what I say!  Research the matter and decide if you are willing to be strong-armed by a foreign company that intends to take your land and do its will.  I have been studying the issue carefully, and I, for one, am not.

Suzanne Morris,

Rusk

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