|Updated: 10/10/2013 1:09 pm
||Published: 10/10/2013 12:55 pm
Keystone's Vice President says there are two primary benefits to the pipeline: energy independence for North America and jobs that are already impacting hundreds of workers.
“Over 40,000 direct and indirect jobs associated with the project,” Corey Goulet said citing a March release by the State Department.
The Keystone VP says as many as 400 workers from Tulsa's Pipeliners Union are working on the Gulf Coast project that he says is about 95% done and will transport American and Canadian oil from Cushing, Oklahoma to Texas refineries.
“This local union has about 7,000 members, so if you can image, we've put 5% of those workers to work in the last 14 months or so,” Goulet estimates.
Opponents of the pipeline say those are only temporary construction jobs, and once finished, few positions will be left.
Ricky Jones, union member, says, “There's always temporary jobs and there's always construction. Everything around you has been built, and everybody who built it ain't there no more.”
Jones has worked in the industry for nearly 40 years and says that's not an issue.
“Even if we're only talking about 1,500 or 2,000 temporary jobs, you're talking about jobs that are five times the minimum wage,” he tells FOX23.
Earlier this week FOX23 reported protestors in Boston cited potential adverse effects on the environment.
Jones tells us those were concerns for the Alaska pipeline years ago.
“They're raising the bar as high as they can to give the public security to make them realize they're doing everything they can to make this the safest, most high tech pipeline ever laid.”
And regarding the argument about the pipeline’s effects on gas prices, Jones say, “Whether gas prices go up or down, America will be more prosperous over all, that's inevitable.”
Goulet tells FOX23 gas prices are dependent on a number of factors, but he says the pipeline would increase the supply of crude oil, likely leading to lower gas prices over the long term.