Recently, the State Department released a report claiming that the Keystone XL pipeline would have no significant impact on the environment. However, the study did not factor in the tremendous impact that tapping the tar sands will have on greenhouse gas emissions. Although the Obama administration has yet to approve the northern section of the route, many Americans remain unaware that the southern portion of the Pipeline is already halfway complete.
According to TransCanada, half of the southern portion of the Keystone XL Pipeline has already been finished. Given the go-ahead by the president last year, a span stretching from Oklahoma to Texas has seen considerable progress, despite a number of protests by environmental and climate activists.
David Dodson, a spokesman from TransCanada told the Associated Press that the company is currently at peak construction, and that they hope to be finished by the end of the year. He states that 4,000 workers are welding a 485 mile section, but most are temporary contracts that are set to expire at the conclusion of the project.
Throughout the construction, TransCanada has touted the jobs they have created in tough economic times. While the work pays good wages and offers pensions and health care, the Pipeline is estimated to only provide 20-50 permanent positions. The President will have to weigh the results of the governments most recent impact statement along with his previous calls to curb climate change and improve the economy before making an executive decision.