Mar 13, 2013 / 8:59 pm
Jobs numbers and other benefits touted by supporters of the Keystone XL oil pipeline are probably exaggerated, President Barack Obama told House Republicans on Wednesday, according to lawmakers who attended the closed-door meeting.
But Obama did not rule out a decision to approve the $7 billion pipeline, according to participants. Obama told Republicans at the Capitol that he's still weighing a decision on the pipeline, which would carry oil from western Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.
Calgary-based TransCanada, which is proposing the pipeline, initially said it could create at least 20,000 jobs, including 13,000 construction jobs and 7,000 jobs among suppliers and manufacturers. The company later clarified that the figures were for one person per year, based on a two-year construction timetable. The State Department has estimated the project would create about 5,000 to 6,000 jobs.
Republican Rep. Lee Terry said Obama appeared "conflicted" on the pipeline, saying that many of the promised jobs would be temporary and that much of the oil produced likely would be exported.
But Terry said Obama also indicated that dire environmental consequences predicted by pipeline opponents were exaggerated.
"He said there were no permanent jobs, and that the oil will be put on ships and exported and that the only ones who are going to get wealthy are the Canadians," Terry said.
A White House spokesman said Wednesday no decision on the pipeline has been made.
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