Sinclair dismisses environmental threats of the canceled Keystone XL Pipeline, pushes long-debunked claim that it would create thousands of jobs
After President Joe Biden removed the permit of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, Sinclair Broadcast Group correspondent James Rosen aired a report in which he pushed false fossil fuel industry talking points about the job loss and environmental impact of the decision. Rosen's report aired on at least 54 Sinclair-owned or -operated local TV stations in 36 states, including Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska, where the pipeline was planned to be built.
The segment attempted to appear fair by including “both sides” of the argument. It featured a representative of the American Petroleum Institute, Frank Macchiarola, who echoed the usual claim saying that “this project would provide 10,000 jobs directly.” Sinclair is among the many conservatives outlets pushing this misleading claim, which was debunked years ago. In fact, Rosen’s report also featured Jane Kleeb, a longtime opponent of the project and the chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, who once again debunked this narrative, saying that the actual figure was close to “600 construction jobs,” in which workers would “travel with the pipeline from state to state. And about 10% of those jobs go to local folks within our state.”
Sinclair also failed to characterize the breadth of environmental threats and environmental justice issues from the project, including threats to drinking water sources of indigenous communities whose land the pipeline would intersect. Instead, Rosen noted that transporting crude oil by pipeline is more environmentally sound than by rail, which is to say, an accident of a train carrying the oil would be worse for the environment than a leaking oil pipeline. Rosen also failed to mention that the Keystone pipeline -- a separate pipeline from the same company which has already been in use -- has seen 21 documented oil spills and leaks, including some that leaked hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil and other toxic materials. Also absent from the coverage was the cost to the economy and jobs from the climate crises, which would be exacerbated by the burning of oil extracted from the Alberta Tar Sands.