Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Alberta Oil Mag on US Job creation, the recession, and the Keystone XL & Gateway Pipelines from tar sands.

Anemic U.S. job growth continues

Northern Gateway quietly gathers momentum amid stalled U.S. economy

By Jeff Lewis

September 04, 2011
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Keep an eye on U.S. President Barack Obama this week. The embattled president is set to announce his jobs package in a joint session of Congress Thursday against a backdrop of anemic U.S. job creation. A Labor Department report on Friday showed the American economy had failed to create jobs in August, putting an end to nearly a year of increases.

The president’s blueprint is expected to include a mix of tax breaks, some help for homeowners and spending on public works, according to Reuters. It comes one week after a decision to abandon proposed air-quality standards, which Republicans opposed on grounds that the legislation would further stall the U.S. economy by killing jobs at a time when growth is desperately needed. Another factor at play: the sudden collapse of California-based Solyndra Inc., which received $385-million in stimulus funding but left some 1,000 workers jobless after filing for bankruptcy (along with two other solar firms) this week.

How any of this affects ongoing reviews by the U.S. State Department of TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone pipeline expansion to the Gulf Coast is unclear. TransCanada has argued the project will create as many as 20,000 jobs during construction. For oil sands producers, the pipeline is viewed as a critical release valve from a crippling storage glut at Cushing, Oklahoma. Producers in Alberta have long sought access to the refining corridor in Texas, Galveston and Corpus Christi, the world’s largest processing hub, as a new market for projected increases in bitumen production.

The job figures released Friday, besides adding heft to Alberta Employment and Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk’s American recruitment drive, could well raise red flags in Calgary boardrooms. The 9.1 per cent national unemployment rate is a potentially unpalatable reminder that U.S. oil consumption, if it hasn’t already, is reaching a plateau.

Remember that OPEC slashed its 2011 forecast for growth in daily oil demand early last month by 150,000 barrels, primarily as a result of foundering U.S. economic activity. Whether the president’s jobs package leads to a turnaround in those projections remains to be seen. But the numbers are sure to inject some urgency into another, equally unpopular oil sands export project to Canada’s West Coast.


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