TransCanada can claim to be a “friendly neighbor” all they like, but their actions speak much louder than their words.  The Canadian pipeline company has bullied Nebraska landowners and shown little regard for our state’s natural resources.  Their primary talking point as to why Nebraskans should support them is that their dangerous Keystone XL pipeline would create jobs. But even on this matter, we cannot trust TransCanada words.

In a Sept. 12 op-ed, TransCanada’s vice-president of the Keystone Pipelines said the Keystone XL’s construction would employ 20,000 workers across the US.

Just one day later, TransCanada announced that they would create 250,000 permanent jobs for US workers.

But only six months ago, in June, TransCanada’s representative Jeff Rauh told us during an interview that the Keystone XL expansion would create just 13,000 construction jobs nationally and roughly 12% of the 1,200 jobs for the Nebraska portion would go to Nebraskans.  

The 13,000 job figure is the same number they also gave in a Sept. 14 press release.

Yesterday, the American Petroleum Institute (a.k.a. the big oil lobby) held a press conference and said the pipeline would create 342,000 new jobs and 13,000 construction jobs.  But the construction jobs are temporary, and there’s no clarification on how long the 342,000 other jobs will last or what time period they are using for that figure.

TransCanada’s VP said during the Nebraska hearing on the pipeline that the jobs figures were for the “lifetime” of the pipeline.  He could not give more specific numbers of actual years or actual jobs for Nebraskans.

So what numbers are we supposed to believe?  20,000 or 250,000 or 340,000 or 13,000?

TransCanada throws out different data on new jobs, permanent jobs and construction jobs.  They like to wave lots of numbers in front of our faces, hoping one is big enough that we’re willing to risk our main economic activity in our state–agriculture–and the lifeblood of our state–the Ogallala Aquifer.  We help feed the world, which is no small task.  And the roughly 120 short term jobs for Nebraskans is simply not worth the risk.

If TransCanada wants to be our “friendly neighbor,” they need to be transparent and honest about the number of actual jobs the Keystone XL will create–both on a national level and for Nebraskans.  Actions speak louder than words, and Nebraskans are listening.