Posted August 8, 2017
By the numbers, the Keystone XL pipeline has always looked like a no-brainer for the United States. In terms of jobs, economics and U.S. energy security, Keystone XL makes sense – without significant climate or environmental impacts, according to the U.S. State Department, which conducted five analyses of the project. Same for the individual states the pipeline would cross. Take Nebraska, where the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) is holding hearings before it decides whether the project is in the state’s interest:
- 4,500 jobs associated with Keystone XL’s construction
- $149 million in employee earnings
- $11.7 million in local tax revenues in the pipeline’s first year of operation
Yet, Keystone XL would be more than numbers. It would be paychecks to individual households in the Heartland. Those paychecks would help workers afford mortgages, groceries, their utilities and more. The project would support local stores, restaurants, hotels and other businesses – each one of those connected to the livelihoods of individual Nebraskans.
Some of these folks and their families gathered Sunday for a barbecue picnic in Omaha, to talk about the economic lifeline the pipeline would represent to working men and women. (Local television coverage, here).
Mike Flood of Norfolk, former speaker of the state House:
“I’m here to tell you there is a silent majority of people in the hills of northeast Nebraska that want this built. There’s a lot being said about these jobs and the people that come to the communities. When they built the first Keystone pipeline we threw a party for the workers – they worked 16-hour days, they bought food, they cashed their checks at our grocery stores. They were a valuable part of our communities. Some of their kids went to our schools. We need this right now. We need the second round of Keystone in counties like Holt, and Boyd and Antelope and Boone. The farm economy’s tough, and we look forward to welcoming the very capable men and women who make this pipeline happen.”
Union member Sam Renshaw also underscored the economic support for working families that is represented in an infrastructure project the size of Keystone XL:
“It's a good opportunity for our members to go to work, pay their taxes, buy the fuel, buy groceries, and just raise their families.”
More to come as the state approvals process for Keystone XL continues. Let’s just remember that in addition to the project’s well-discussed national benefits there are thousands of Nebraskans – a number of them on hand at the “pipeline picnic” in Omaha – who’re eager to build the pipeline and see its benefits become reality in their state.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.