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Our ‘True North’ for Jobs: Keystone XL Pipeline

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted April 1, 2013

The president gave a good speech on infrastructure late last week in Miami:

“There are few more important things we can do to create jobs right now and strengthen our economy over the long haul than rebuilding the infrastructure that powers our businesses and our economy. … As President, my top priority is to make sure we are doing everything we can to reignite the true engine of our economic growth – and that is a rising, thriving middle class.  A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs – that’s got to be our true North.  That's what has to guide our efforts every single day.”


“When it comes to good jobs, no workers were hammered harder by the recession than construction workers.  Fortunately, the unemployment rate for construction has been cut nearly in half over the past three years, partly because the housing market is starting to bounce back.  But construction still has the highest unemployment rate of any industry. [Good construction jobs] end up giving people good pay and good opportunities to raise their families. Projects like this create a lot of other good jobs, too.”

And this:

“In a time of tight budgets, we’ve got to do it in a way that makes sure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.”

At this point we’re thinking – the Keystone XL pipeline! It’s a no-brainer, Mr. President!

Jobs? According to the State Department’s most recent review, the Keystone XL would support more than 42,000 average annual jobs across the United States over the project’s construction period. State also said the pipeline would support employment worth more than $2 billion in earnings, spur spending of more than $3 billion and generate about $65 million in sales and use taxes that benefit states and localities.

The middle class? Construction workers? The president’s right: The economic downturn hit construction workers hard – 16 percent unemployment. The president of the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Department said the sector has weathered a depression and needs the jobs the Keystone XL would generate.

Tight budgets? The Keystone XL would be privately financed - $7 billion in spending without touching the taxpayers for a dime. It doesn’t get more fiscally responsible than that.

We don’t know what the president will decide on approving the full Keystone XL pipeline. We know what he should do: He should see that this shovel-ready project checks the box in just about every area he mentioned last week in Miami: needed energy infrastructure, jobs and economic stimulus – without tapping valuable and stretched public resources that could be used elsewhere.

We agree that job creation and the economic growth that comes with it should be our true North. The Keystone XL pipeline is that true North. The president should approve the full Keystone XL pipeline now.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.