Barbara Comstock, and many on the right in general, for some bizarre reason(s) seem obsessed with pushing the Keystone XL Canadian tar sands export project. For instance, according to Comstock: “I have one position on the Keystone Pipeline – let’s get these shovel ready jobs going! This is one of the best stimulus programs with no cost to the taxpayers.” Just one problem: none of this bears any resemblance to reality whatsoever. In fact:
*According to an independent study by researchers at Cornell University, not only is TransCanada’s “claim that KXL will create 20,000 direct construction and manufacturing jobs in the U.S…not substantiated,” to the contrary the “project will create no more than 2,500-4,650 temporary direct construction jobs for two years, according to TransCanada’s own data supplied to the State Department.”
*According to that same study: “KXL will divert Tar Sands oil now supplying Midwest refineries, so it can be sold at higher prices to the Gulf Coast and export markets. As a result, consumers in the Midwest could be paying 10 to 20 cents more per gallon for gasoline and diesel fuel. These additional costs (estimated to total $2-4 billion) will suppress other spending and will therefore cost jobs.” That’s right: “Put simply, KXL’s job creation potential is relatively small, and could be completely outweighed by the project’s potential to destroy jobs through rising fuel costs, spill damage and clean up operations, air pollution and increased GHG emissions.”
*Regardless, none of those jobs will be located in Virginia, let alone the 10th CD of Virginia, which Comstock hopes to (mis)represent in Congress.
*According to another independent study of Keystone XL, this time by econometrics firm REMI (“Regional Economic Models, Inc”), “No research that we have identified can substantiate” claims that Keystone will create tens of thousands of jobs.
*Also, there’s no evidence that any jobs will be created in states outside the path of the pipeline, which is not anywhere close to Virginia. As a commenter on another Virginia blog put it, “the pipeline isn’t in Virginia, won’t employ Virginians, won’t serve Virginia, and has nothing to do with Virginia.” That pretty much sums it up.
*Finally, it’s important to remind the Barbara Comstocks of the world that the oil passing through Keystone XL is Canadian, and that most of it would “likely be exported as refined products by U.S. companies” to places like China.
*Finally, it’s also important to remind everyone who the investors in the Canadian tar sands include: the Koch brothers and China. Of course, we all know why Republicans love the Koch brothers (lots of $$$, they all hate the environment, etc.), but since when do right wingnuts like Comstock have a warm spot for Communist China, with its massive human rights violations (e.g., forced abortions, persecution of Christians)? Weird.
One possible explanation for Comstock’s strange comments about Keystone is that she is simply a witting (or unwitting) tool of the fossil fuel industry. Another is that she is utterly ignorant of the facts. Finally, she might just be cynically calculating that this is an issue that resonates politically with the Republican “base,” and that it’s therefore a good one for her to demagogue about. But that doesn’t make it right, nor does it necessarily make it politically effective — especially if the sordid facts about this misbegotten Canadian tar sands export project get out to more people in the 10th CD. Such as the fact that the pipeline will create a grand total of ZERO jobs in the district.