State Department Finds Keystone XL Won't Hurt Environment or Help EconomyS

The State Department released its report yesterday on the environmental impact of constructing the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. It found that the massive pipeline is "unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development in the oil sands," meaning that Canada will most likely proceed with developing the Alberta tar sands whether the pipeline is built or not, and it ultimately won't contribute to global warming.

Environmentalists disagree.

While the amount of carbon that will be released if the tar sands are fully developed is still a contested number, 350.org founder Bill McKibben expressed amazement that the State Department concluded that the pipeline wouldn't spur further development, "Everybody who reads the industry press in Canada, anyone who pays attention to the financials, knows that if they don't have it, they aren't going to be able to expand the tarsands the way they want to."

However, the report wasn't all great news for supporters of the pipeline — the State Department isn't really buying the idea that the project would create jobs:

The analysis also put a far more conservative estimate on the number of jobs that would be created by Keystone XL pipeline. Proponents of the pipeline have predicted a veritable hiring bonanza, with some Republicans suggesting hundreds of thousands of jobs are in the offing.

But the report said that while the pipeline's construction would support 42,100 jobs during the one- to two-year construction period, with total wages of about $2 billion, only 35 permanent and temporary jobs will remain once Keystone XL pipeline is fully operational.

The final decision, which is still months away, will be made by the President.