U.S. President Barack Obama has called into question the number of jobs that would be provided from the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in a New York Times interview over the weekend.
Republicans have frequently stated that there would be a large number of jobs created if the pipeline is approved for construction, Obama said, adding that he disputes their premise.
“Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator,” Obama said in the interview. “There is no evidence that that’s true. The most realistic estimates are this might maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline, which might take a year or two, and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 jobs in an economy of 150 million working people.”
The president noted that even the temporary increase of 2,000 jobs that might be created during the construction of the pipeline, which would cost about $5.3 billion to build, was “a blip relative to the need.”
Republicans and business groups have pressured Obama to approve the pipeline, emphasizing that the approval and construction of the pipeline would produce economic benefits, including a drop in gasoline prices.
Democrats and environmental groups have opposed the approval and construction of the pipeline primarily on environmental grounds, saying that the burning of fossil fuels contributes to climate change.
Obama said that if the pipeline allowed the Midwest to export more of its oil to other countries, it could actually cause gasoline prices in the region to increase.
Obama said last month that the pipeline would serve U.S. interests only if it did not “significantly exacerbate” carbon pollution.
The president is expected to make a final decision later this year or in 2014.
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