Oil slick approaches shore

The New York Times Green blog featured a recent report on The impact of tar sands pipeline spills on employment and the economy, by Faculty Fellows Lara Skinner and Sean Sweeney 

GLI study warns of economic damage in a Keystone Pipeline spill

March 15, 2012

Oil slick approaches shore

The New York Times Green blog featured a recent report on The impact of tar sands pipeline spills on employment and the economy, by Faculty Fellows Lara Skinner and Sean Sweeney from Cornell’s Global Labor Initiative (GLI).  The following is an excerpt:

Study Warns of Economic Damage in a Keystone Pipeline Spill

By DAN FROSCH | March 13, 2012, 5:05 pm

Tar Sands Report Cover
GLI Report: The impact of tar sands pipeline spills on employment and the economy

A report released on Tuesday by Cornell University’s Global Labor Institute concludes that the economic damage caused by potential spills from the Keystone XL pipeline could far outweigh the benefits of jobs created by the project.

The institute, which advocates the creation of union jobs in renewable energy and analyzes sustainability issues, said that more than a million people work in agricultural or tourism jobs in the six states along Keystone XL’s route and that the economic costs could be considerable if a major spill occurred.

The risks of an economically damaging accident are higher than those for conventional crude, the report said, because pipelines carrying oil sands crude are more prone to spills, an argument long made by opponents of the Keystone XL project.

The report cited a spill from an Enbridge Energy pipeline in July 2010 that dumped about 843,000 gallons of oil sands crude near Marshall, Mich., and has been especially difficult and expensive to clean.

“Given where the pipeline is scheduled to go, it’s not inconceivable that a spill like the Enbridge pipeline spill could occur,” said Sean Sweeney, the institute’s director and a co-author of the study. “And if it contaminated a major waterway in a remote area, it could take a long time to deal with.”

TransCanada, whose application to build Keystone XL was rejected by President Obama in January, dismissed the report and cited an initial review by the State Department that found the pipeline would have little adverse environmental impact if operated properly… (read more)