Dishonesty and U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin just seem to go hand in hand. It’s been announced that Griffin will be the point man on a Republican publicity push today to beat up President Obama for withholding approval of a new pipeline from Canada in part because of environmental concerns that the pipeline could damage an important aquifer in Nebraska. Arkansas Republicans may not care about the water in Nebraska, but Nebraska Republicans, including the governor, care quite a bit.
Griffin and other Republicans will be flogging the “jobs” mantra — Little Rock has a plant that will make some of the pipe. The jobs on this pipeline have been wildly oversold by double counting of construction crews and the counting even of dance troupes to entertain workers among the supposed benefits. The Washington Post did a serious analysis here. For example, a huge amount of the supply chain work has already been done. There’s more.
Meanwhile, the Cornell Global Labor Institute issued a study suggesting that any jobs stemming from the pipeline’s construction could be outweighed by environmental damage it caused, along with a possible rise in Midwest gasoline prices because a new pipeline would divert that region’s current oversupply of oil to the Gulf Coast.
Environmentalist Bill McKibben is also a skeptic.
In fact, the biggest reason the realists had no doubts the pipeline would get its permit, via a State Department review and a presidential thumbs-up of that border-crossing pipeline, was because of the well-known political potency of the jobs argument in bad economic times. Despite endless lazy reporting on the theme of jobs versus the environment, there were actually no net jobs to be had from the pipeline. It was always a weak argument, since the whole point of a pipeline is that, once it’s built, no one needs to work there. In addition, as the one study not paid for by Transcanada made clear, the project would kill as many jobs as it would create.
Stay tuned for Tim Griffin. If his lips are moving ….
UPDATE: Griffin’s news release uses the bloated job creation number. And he brings in a Welspun executive who confirms that job creations figures are inflated here by the fact that his plant is already at work on the pipe. And it doesn’t mention that it might get some more miles by a compromise in the works in Nebraska.