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Congressmen slam Obama’s XL job figures

Keywords: Tags  Keystone XL, President Obama, TransCanada, jobs, Rep. Frederick Upton, Rep. Ed Whitfield, Rep. Lee Terry, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — Three Republican congressmen have criticized President Obama’s comments on the potential for job creation by TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline.

Obama told the New York Times in a recent interview that Keystone XL might create "maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the project, which might take a year or two," and "after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 jobs in an economy of 150 million working people.

Reps. Frederick Upton (R., Mich.), Ed Whitfield (R., Ky.) and Lee Terry (R., Neb.) disputed the numbers in a letter to the President, pointing out a State Department assessment of the pipeline estimated it could "potentially support 42,100 average annual jobs across the United States."

TransCanada said in an e-mailed statement on the President’s remarks that it had already signed agreements with labor unions on the number of workers required to build Keystone XL that are above the President’s figure. "Unions are not in the habit of negotiating meaningless agreements with inflated numbers with companies," the Calgary, Alberta-based pipeline company said.

The congressmen also expressed concern about the pace of the approval process for the pipeline, which has been on the drawing board since 2009, with the State Department "likely at least a year away" from completing the project’s environmental impact review and national interest determination, they wrote in the letter.

The department is currently reviewing public comments it received on Keystone XL’s draft supplemental environmental impact statement published earlier this year.

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