In what has become a standard promise, Paul Ryan on Monday at a campaign stop in Ohio promised once again that if he and Mitt Romney were elected, the tar sands Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada would be approved "on day one".
The original pipeline route, proposed by Canadian company TransCanada, was put on hold in 2011 by President Obama following an aggressive campaign by environmental campaigners who argued the pipeline represented the worst aspects of US dependence on fossil fuels economy and following warnings from climate scientist James Hansen that complete exploitation of the Alberta tar sands would be "game over for the planet."
"We need to unlock the energy we have in this country to create jobs," Ryan said at the stop in Ohio. He failed to mention, however, that TransCanada's own permit application expected only “a peak workforce of approximately 3,500 to 4,200 construction personnel” which would be relatively low-paying and only temporary jobs.
Though some unions have backed the pipeline and Republicans have made Obama's refusal to rush through approval a cornerstone of partisan attacks regarding job creation, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) both oppose the pipeline.
“We need jobs, but not ones based on increasing our reliance on Tar Sands oil," the ATU and TWU said in a joint release in August of 2011. "There is no shortage of water and sewage pipelines that need to be fixed or replaced, bridges and tunnels that are in need of emergency repair, transportation infrastructure that needs to be renewed and developed. Many jobs could also be created in energy conservation, upgrading the grid, maintaining and expanding public transportation—jobs that can help us reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and improve energy efficiency.”
Video, with similar comments, from a recent Ryan campaign rally in Iowa: