Louisianans have been in an extended state of anxiety for years since oil prices tanked. Our fortunes have long ebbed and flowed with fluctuations in the oil market. The Keystone XL pipeline is the latest panic button to be pushed.

The pipeline is a political hot topic. The number of jobs potentially generated by the project continues to be overstated. Keystone will add jobs, mainly temporary construction.

Connecting Canadian oil to the Gulf Coast raises the possibility that Canada will begin exporting this type of crude, not refining it in the U.S., raising the cost at the pump.

Because this Canadian oil is “sour crude,” called bitumen, it is more expensive and polluting to refine. Oil from oil sands has a higher environmental cost in extraction and refining.

There is much existing pipeline that needs fixing. Construction workers can be employed to rebuild crumbling natural gas pipelines, creating jobs and cutting carbon emissions. The same workers can rebuild our decaying water infrastructure. Let’s fight for jobs that build a future, not destroy that future.

CLAIRE WEAVER

retired educator

Lafayette