CEA Executive Vice President Michael Whatley is keeping a close eye on the latest developments around the permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline. This week he sat down for an interview with E&E TV.
Monica Trauzzi: Michael, the President made news earlier this week with comments he made on the Keystone XL pipeline, specifically relating to the job creation potential of the project. The numbers he cited in an interview with The New York Times are somewhat different than those that were previously cited by the State Department. So in the interview he said the pipeline may create maybe 2,000 jobs during construction and then 50 to 100 afterwards. What do you think the motivation was behind the remarks and the specific numbers that he cited?
Michael Whatley: Well, I don’t know what the President’s specific motivation was in terms of why he wanted to talk about how this would not necessarily be a significant job creator. Certainly this is a major construction project, you know, $5.3 billion dollar investment in the US economy by TransCanada without any federal funding or loans or anything along those lines. And $2 billion of that is going to go directly into wages. When we look at the job creation numbers that TransCanada has put out, they match up very well with what the State Department put out in the last version of the environmental reviews that they’ve put in there. TransCanada has said all along that this project is going to create about 9,000 jobs, and this is very similar to the 9,000 jobs that were created when they built the first Keystone project very similar in length, very similar in terms of a two-year construction job. So I think that those were numbers that the State Department was relying on in the draft supplemental EIS, and those are what we’re going to be working from.