Because it expects the Keystone XL Pipeline to aggravate climate change, the Portland environmental organization Ecotrust is advocating for an alternative: Rather than build the five-state corridor of the Keystone line, repair existing pipelines.

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According to the Congressional Research Service, Alberta tar sands are heavier and contain more impurities than other types of oil. But the pay off in jobs is appealing. The U.S. State Department estimates 2,000 direct construction jobs and another 40,000 related jobs would be created over the two-year life of the project.

Ecotrust’s E-3 Network has partnered with the Labor Network for Sustainability to project far more jobs could be created by repairing existing water pipes and gas lines across the same five states.

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In fact the report predicts five times more jobs – and more long-term jobs than the Keystone system.

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To finance the infrastructure work, the study proposes closing federal tax breaks enjoyed by fossil fuel companies.

Related: Energy is the theme of the first in a series of Ecotrust Sundown Concerts, beginning Thursday July 10, and continuing on Thursday evenings throughout July. For details of the free Sundown Concert Series, click here.

Rebecca Webb

Rebecca Webb is the Founder and Team Leader at Portland Radio Project Listen Now

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