(CNN) – President Trump touts it as a colossal project that will create tens of thousands of jobs and revive an ailing American industry, but in reality, the impact of the newly-revived Keystone XL pipeline may fall far short.
Pipeline projects have drawn massive protests, fueled by fears of environmental destruction in the event of a leak, which could endanger health and safe drinking water.
But with the stroke of a pen Tuesday, President Trump put the controversial projects including the stalled Keystone XL pipeline back in play. The $8-billion project would stretch nearly 1,200 miles across Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, carrying more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Canada to the United States.
A 2014 state department report found only 3,900 workers will be required to build the pipeline and those jobs will only last a year. Just 35 positions would be permanent.
Jack Gerard, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, did not dispute the state department’s number. He said, “20,000, 5,000, what is it? It’s thousands of jobs. They’re great, well-paid jobs. Let’s focus on the benefits.”
Then there’s the pipelines themselves and who will make them.
President Trump said, “I am very insistent that if we’re going to build pipelines in the United States, the pipes should be made in the United States.”
But Calgary-based TransCanada, the owner of Keystone XL, has already bought pipes and materials for the project.
In 2012, President Obama visited an Oklahoma storage yard holding pipes that had already been purchased. This was before he rejected the project over climate concerns.
A Cornell University study found that almost half, perhaps more, of the primary material for the pipeline was produced by foreign companies, which is a sticking point for some lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Mike Doyle said, “I wish I could sit here and say that, that steel is coming from the Unites States of America. Unfortunately, TransCanada’s contracted with an Indian multinational company, Well Spun Corp Limited, and a Russian company.”
In a statement, TransCanada said, “We have previously purchased pipe. We will need time to review and analyze the plan when it is released to determine its impact to KXL.”
There are laws preventing a government from telling a private entity what material they have to use for a project.