Lugar defends taxpayer-funded lobbying for Keystone XL Pipeline

Indiana Senator Richard Lugar responded to Representative Henry Waxman’s letter, inquiring into why the state of Indiana was spending taxpayer money to lobby for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Lugar, who has embraced this right-wing cause du jour as he faces a serious primary challenger, writes that the expense is “fully justified” (PDF), citing Indiana companies that could be hired to work on the project.

On January 18, for example, I visited with women and men working at Endress+Hauser in Greenwood where they manufacture instruments that will be sold to Keystone XL. In South Bend, Hoosiers at Koontz-Wagner Electric build controls for Siemens pumps that will move the oil along the pipeline.

Lugar also cites Caterpillar, who build engines that are used on large trucks, like the ones used in the Alberta oil sand fields, and who has a plant in Lafayette. (In similar news, I fix computers, and some companies in Canada use computers, and those computers could be used to send emails about Keystone XL, which means I should be included in the Keystone XL job numbers.)

A quick search revealed that while Lugar has been repeating these Indiana connections to the Keystone XL Pipeline, he seems to be the only one citing them. I couldn’t find a single mention of them that came from any source other than the Senator’s office. In fact, the companies he names don’t seem to mention the project at all.

Lugar is also quick to trot out the “20,000 private sector jobs” canard, which is the number that has been used by the GOP – but only when they’re not claiming 100,000 jobs, or 250,000 jobs, or even a million jobs.

However, TransCanada – the company that’s actually building the pipeline – has claimed only 13,000 jobs, and a Washington Post investigation using TransCanada’s numbers found that it would be only half of that. In fact, independent researchers have found that Keystone XL could create as few as 50 permanent full-time jobs (PDF). And despite confused media reports, the State Department found “the project would not have a significant impact on long-term employment in the United States”.