From Green Right Now Reports

A coalition of 45 business groups organized as the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) lodged firm opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, describing the project as “a boondoggle for oil companies” that will fail to provide permanent jobs or energy security for the US.

“Keystone is a sneak attack on American’s wallets,” said Frank Knapp, Vice Chairman of ASBC and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce.

“Its real aim is to import oil from Canada, refine it, and then export it to foreign buyers. For most businesses and consumers in the mid-west, the pipeline will serve up higher energy prices and higher food prices, since food prices include the price of energy and oil-based fertilizer needed to grow crops. That’s the last thing we need for real economic recovery.”

Most of jobs produced by the 1,700 mile pipeline — set to carry tar sands oil from Alberta to refineries on the coast of Texas — would be “fleeting”, with only a few hundred permanent jobs remaining after the pipeline’s construction, according to the ASBC.

“Contrary to the claims of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute and other pipeline advocates who threaten political retaliation if the pipeline is not approved, Keystone XL would not deliver on jobs, energy, safety or economic competitiveness,” said ASBC Executive Director David Levine.

The US would be better off to focus on clean energy, which could produce thousands of permanent jobs while helping the country remain competitive globally, Levine said.

“Keystone makes no economic sense for America,” added ASBC co-founder and Director David Brodwin. “Once we take into account the true cost of oil including subsidies, environmental damage, and military costs, oil is far more expensive than the alternatives.  The best thing we can do for the American economy and for American businesses as a whole is to wean ourselves from oil as quickly as possible.”

The ASBC statement defined its opposition to Keystone XL with these points:

  • Most of the oil that Keystone XL would carry from Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas is destined for export, and the jobs the pipeline would create would be just as fleeting. The State Department estimated the pipeline construction workforce at 5,000 to 6,000 workers and as the Vice President of Keystone Pipeline for TransCanada told CNN, long-term jobs would be in the “hundreds, certainly not in the thousands.”
  • Keystone would deliver far less bang for the buck when it comes to job creation than alternative energy. A dollar of spending in clean energy generates three times as many jobs as a dollar spent on oil and gas, according to U.S. Commerce Department data.
  • Keystone is a boondoggle for oil companies, not an investment in our nation’s economic competitiveness. Keystone will leave us even further behind Germany, China and other countries that are dominating the rapidly growing global clean technology market.
  • Keystone would increase the kind of catastrophic environmental risk the World Economic Forum warns about in its just released Global Risks 2012. Keystone oil will be extracted from tar sands and its carbon emissions are 82% greater than the average crude refined in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Keystone will increase carbon emissions and environmental risk. The pipeline would threaten the Ogallala aquifer, a large and irreplaceable supply of drinking water and irrigation in the Great Plains.

In addition, the pipeline runs the risk of contaminating the Ogallala Aquifer “the only clean and reliable water source for drinking and agriculture for much of the Great Plains,” said Fran Teplitz, ASBC board member.

“If this supply were contaminated by an oil spill, the costs to the public and business would be incalculable, and some of America’s most productive farmland would be lost.”

As part of the recent passage of the payroll tax cuts, Congress ordered President Obama to decide within 60 days — or by Feb. 21 — on whether to approve or disapprove the pipeline, which would traverse  parts of Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. All those states stand to gain tax revenue from the pipeline (save for Kansas, which reportedly offered pipeline operator a 10-year tax abatement).

The American Petroleum Institute supports the pipeline as a jobs-maker for the US, and also has rebutted the argument that the tars sands oil is destined for international markets. Some of the refined crude from the tar sands fields will be refined for domestic use, according to API.

The American Sustainable Business Council is a growing coalition of businesses and business networks representing over 100,000 businesses and more than 200,000 entrepreneurs, owners, executives, investors and others. Members are committed to advancing policies that support a vibrant and sustainable economy, according to the group. Member companies include Ben & Jerry’s, Organic Valley farms, New Belgium Brewing, Trillium Asset Management and Stonyfield Farms.