Cornell University

Cornell Global Labor Institute

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Cornell GLI Releases Report on Employment and Economic Impacts of Tar Sands Spills

Tar Sands spill 2012Cornell GLI’s new briefing paper, The Impact of Tar Sands Pipeline Spills on Employment and the Economy, examines the potentially negative impacts of tar sands oil spills on employment and the economy along the proposed route for the Keystone XL, focusing mainly on the agriculture and tourism sectors. The report also highlights Michigan’s Kalamazoo River spill in 2010- the largest tar sands oil spill in the U.S.

Main Findings include:

  • The negative impacts on employment and the economy of tar sands pipelines like the Keystone XL have largely been ignored. To date, a comprehensive risk assessment for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline oil spill has not been conducted.
  • The Keystone XL pipeline would cut through America’s breadbasket. Farming, ranching, and tourism are major sources of employment along the Keystone XL pipeline’s proposed route.
  • Many of the land areas and bodies of water that Keystone XL will cross provide recreational opportunities vital to the tourism industry.
  • Recent experience has demonstrated that tar sands spills pose additional dangers to the public and present special challenges in terms of clean up. The Kalamazoo River tar sands spill affected the health of hundreds of residents, displaced residents, hurt businesses, and caused a loss of jobs.
  • Renewable energy provides a safer route to creating new jobs and a sustainable environment.

For media inquiries, contact Lara Skinner at or 212-340-2884.