POLITICS
03/18/2013 11:24 am ET | Updated Mar 18, 2013

Chris Van Hollen, Kevin McCarthy Spar Over Keystone XL Pipeline

Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), appearing on NBC's "Meet The Press" on Sunday, sparred briefly over the State Department's pending approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

McCarthy claimed the pipeline would create "20,000 new jobs," and urged its construction. "Why do we have to wait?" he asked. The jobs numbers he referenced are actually off by several thousand, however, according to a study conducted by the Cornell University Global Labor Institute.

The study found that the project "will create no more than 2,500-4,650 temporary direct construction jobs for two years, according to TransCanada’s own data supplied to the State Department," and that the "claim that KXL will create 20,000 direct construction and manufacturing jobs in the U.S is not substantiated." The State Department's own study found the pipeline will create just 35 permanent jobs.

Van Hollen said that, while he was still reviewing the State Department’s “very complicated” assessment of the project, he thought the pipeline could be safely built. "Now the question is whether or not the overall climate effects, the overall energy impacts, are something we support," he said.

The State Department -- which has purview over the approval process since the pipeline crosses an international border -- will issue a final assessment of the project following a 45-day public comment period. The Obama administration is expected to reach a final decision by July or August.

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